Ambien Problems Send Thousands to Hospital Each Year: Study

A significant increase has been seen in the number of emergency room visits caused by problems with Ambien and other sleeping pills that contain the active pharmaceutical ingredient Zolpidem, which can cause users to experience a lack of alertness the next morning after the sleeping pills are used.   

According to a new study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), emergency room visits related to sleeping pill use increased by a significant 220% from 2005 to 2010.

Nearly 20,000 people visited the ER in 2010 after suffering injuries caused by Ambien complications, up from 6,000 visits in 2005.

Did You Know?

AT&T Data Breach Impacts Millions of Customers

More than 73 million customers of AT&T may have had their names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and other information released on the dark web due to a massive AT&T data breach. Lawsuits are being pursued to obtain financial compensation.

Learn More

SAMHSA reported 13,130 ER visits in 2010, nearly 68% of those visits were by female users, a 274% increase from 2005. An increase in problems among men was also noted. In 2010, more than 6,000 ER visits were made by men who used drugs containing Zolpidem, a rate up from 2,584 in 2005. Approximately three-quarters of the total ER visits were among patients 45 years and older.

The study was based on reports from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), a public health surveillance system. DAWN found that more than half of the emergency room visits involved the use of another drug. Nearly 40% involved the use of a second drug which depressed the central nervous system. Drugs like anti-anxiety medications or narcotic pain killers were commonly used.

Ambien Safety Concerns

Ambien, Edluar and Zolpimist are all similar sleeping drugs that contain Zolpidem; a substance which was approved by the FDA for short-term treatment of insomnia.

The FDA recently saw an increase in the number of adverse events involving Zolpidem containing drugs, prompting the January decision to require manufacturers to decrease the recommended dosage for women by half.

The decision came in response to clinical trials that revealed Ambien side effects may cause users to suffer impaired alertness the morning after taking the medication. Women metabolize medication much slower than men, making them more susceptible to the effects. The FDA also suggested a lower dose for men as well.

Last month, the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen warned a shorter acting version of the sleep medication, sold under the brand name Intermezzo, may have the same safety risk as Ambien, affecting users the morning after taking the drug.

“Although short-term sleeping medications can help patients, it is exceedingly important that they be carefully used and monitored,” said Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA Administrator. “Physicians and patients need to be aware of the potential adverse reactions associated with any medication, and work closely together to prevent or quickly address any problems that may arise.”

Adverse reactions related to Zolpidem use may include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, hallucinations, paranoia, agitation, sleep walking and drowsiness while driving. Zolpidem’s sedative effects are especially dangerous when taken in combination with other drugs, especially narcotic pain medication or drugs used to treat anxiety.

Prescriptions for Ambien and zolpidem increased from 39 million in 2008 to 44 million in 2012. Approximately 64 percent of those prescriptions were written for women.

Image Credit: |


  • anthonyApril 10, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I was taken to hospital 5 times for heart attack like symptoms after taken ambien. My Dr. had me on it for over 5 years which is way to long. Ambien should only be allowed for short term use only and patients that are taking narcotics not be allowed to take ambien at all. My wife is a nurse so she and I figured out what was causing my problem not my doctor or the er. dr.

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuits Being Prepared For Early Test Trials in Federal MDL
Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuits Being Prepared For Early Test Trials in Federal MDL (Posted yesterday)

In advance of a a conference this week, lawyers report that progress is being made to prepare a group of federal Gardasil vaccine lawsuits for early test trials, to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

Enfamil Lawsuit Claims Preemie Developed NEC After Being Fed Cow's Milk-Based Infant Formula
Enfamil Lawsuit Claims Preemie Developed NEC After Being Fed Cow's Milk-Based Infant Formula (Posted 2 days ago)

Cow's milk-based infant formula products are dangerous for premature infants, according to a mother's recent Enfamil lawsuit, filed after her newborn developed necrotizing enterocolitis and suffered through surgery and continuing negative health effects.

Ozempic MDL Lawsuits Reassigned To New Judge For Further Pretrial Proceedings
Ozempic MDL Lawsuits Reassigned To New Judge For Further Pretrial Proceedings (Posted 5 days ago)

All lawsuits over Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy and other GLP-1 RA drugs to U.S. District Judge Karen S. Marston, following the death last month of the judge originally appointed to preside over all claims involving stomach paralysis and other gastrointestinal injuries.