Sleeping pills, such as Ambien and Restoril, may increase the risk of an auto accident, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The increased risk is a result of the drug not wearing off quickly enough.
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The study, led by Ryan Hansen of the University of Washington’s school of pharmacy, found that each of the medications increased the risk of a motor vehicle crash. The medical and driving records of more than 400,000 people were examined.
Patients who took Restoril had a 27 percent increased risk of being involved in an accident while Ambien users were nearly twice as likely to be in a fatigued driving crash than non-users.
When sleeping pill users get behind the wheel the morning after, their risk of a car crash is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration between .06 and .11. Fatigued drivers suffer similar impairment issues to that of drunk drivers. The effects of sleeping pills make it much more difficult to handle complex driving situations.
In 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the dosage of sleeping pills be decreased. Research had revealed the sleeping pills could remain in a patient’s system for longer than publicized. This new study is prompting the FDA to ask doctor to prescribe the lowest dosage possible.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, approximately 2,455 auto accidents in 2013 were caused by fatigued drivers.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car wreck caused by a drowsy driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced car accident lawyers at Schmidt Kramer can help you determine what your legal options are.