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US authority to lower sleeping pill dosages

  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Friday 11th January 2013

The US government department responsible for public health has announced plans to reduce the recommended dosages of popular sleeping pills, in a bid to lower the number of related safety issues. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated this week that the advised dosages of medication containing the ingredient zolpidem should be halved for women, both in immediate and slow-release drugs, and similarly lowered for men.

The department cited driving as the main concern behind the move, detailing the reported traffic accidents that occurred as a result of driving under the influence of sleeping pills taken the night before. It is estimated that around 700 such incidents have taken place in recent years in the US alone, but this figure is likely to be inaccurate due to the difficulty in determining driver error.

Laboratory tests carried out in 2012 (that included driving simulation elements) showed that the morning-after drowsiness of drugs with zolpidem was higher than first thought.

“All insomnia drugs are potent medications, and they must be used carefully,” said Russell Katz, Director of the FDA’s Division of Neurology.
 


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