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Sleep Well With Sleepezy

A Warning on Sleep Aids

April 11, 2007

I have shelved this month's Sleepezy News to let you know about breaking news of the dangers of Stilnox in Australia. (This drug is called Ambien in the US) Stilnox is a non-benzodiazepine sleep-inducing drug that is used primarily to treat insomnia.

Stillnox (Zolpidem Tartrate) has created headlines due the volume of side effects being reported by users. Here is the actual headline:

"CONCERNS are rising over the controversial sleeping drug Stilnox, with 300 callers swamping a consumer information line detailing dangerous side-effects, including sleep walking over high-rise balconies." (Courier Mail, Brisbane, Australia on 27th March 2007)

(To read actual article go to and follow the link at the top of page)

Eeek! Never mind issues of sleeping pill addiction, suppression of REM sleep patterns and all that, this stuff has the ability to actually kill people!

The official side effects are drowsiness (what a surprise!), dizziness and headaches. The unpublished side effects are potentially so much worse.

A 33 year old Australian male plunged 12 stories of his hotel balcony while "asleep" after taking Stilnox. He survived but has no memory of the event.

An Australian woman in her forties took Stilnox for the first time. She was found unconcious a day later in her bathroom. Her leg had to be amputated as she had cut off the circulation by lying on it for too long.

These are some of the many stories being heard by doctors and the Adverse Medical Events line over here. Some of them are funny, like the woman who woke up to find she had done all her family's ironing; some are not. There have been reports of traffic accidents, self harming with knives, violence, crime and many other near tragic stories.

So how do these types of drugs get onto the market? Where are the watchdogs?

Prior to being marketed, drugs are tested mainly for effectiveness rather than safety. Safety issues often arise after the drug has been in use for a while. That's normal enough, but when the company responsible refuses to acknowledge the dangers and keeps on promoting the product as safe, that's negligence pure and simple. The manufacturers of Stilnox are not planning to withdraw the drug any time soon.

Why not? Because "...a relationship between the drug and strange behaviour has not been scientifically established."

Then there are people who believe the stories are made up just to extract money from the pharmeceutical company. That is not the case here; I've seen the lady with one leg on TV and that's not faking

I know there are many people who take Stilnox regularly and have no side effects. In fact they think it's great.

If you are one of these then fine, I'm not directing this message at you so please don't contact me regarding this drug to tell me how wonderful it is, keep taking it if it suits you.

This message is to warn those who are suffering from insomnia who may innocently wander into their doctor's surgery and ask for, "Something to help me sleep", and the doctor may prescribe (just as innocently perhaps) Stilnox or Zolpidem. Doctors can't possibly know everything about every drug on the market, they believe what the drug companies choose to tell them (which probably doesn't include falling off buildings or losing limbs)

So maybe you'll take Stillnox, Zolpidem, Ambien and you'll be fine.

Or maybe you won't. Is it worth the risk?

As always if a link doesn't work, copy and paste into your browser.

Until next time, my very best wishes to you.

Wendy (new)

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