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Aug 10 2012

Did Ambien Side Effects cause Kerry Kennedy to Sleep Drive

Ambien side effects can cook you. Ambien side effects can cook you.

Volume 161, August 10, 2012

There is a reason that driving has become quite difficult in the past few years. With $17 Billion spent on pharmaceuticals last year there are many more people being placed on medications which in one way or another makes for unsafe driving.

Kerry Kennedy, ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is only the latest of the famous to have found herself in a legal action due to pharmaceutical usage for “sleep driving.” She told the police that she may have taken an Ambien on Friday morning, the day she crashed into a tractor trailer on a New York Highway leaving the scene of the accident.  She had no memory of the incident. She tested negative for any drugs that day. Given the short half life of the drug it could have been out of Ms. Kennedy’s system before she was tested, a negative result quite plausible.
Back in 2006 Kerry’s cousin Patrick brought the attention of “sleep driving” to the public when he had a crashed his Mustang into a capitol hill barrier at 2 AM thinking he was late for a vote.  There was a class action suit brought against French pharmaceutical company Sanofi around the time of Patrick’s accident. This because of more than a dozen reported accidents based on sleep driving. It was mentioned in that suit that people were found to be doing weird things in their sleep like eating weird concoctions, having sex or getting up to drive without being aware of it and with no memory of their behavior. The FDA forced Sanofi to place a warning of the side effects on the drug label stating that people may get up out of bed and do activities that they may not be aware of such as sleep driving. Sadly, it seems that few of the 39 million people who are taking the drug take these side-effects very seriously thinking that it may not happen to them.

Worse there is no mention of the legal ramifications of any behavior that could be seen as illegal when one is under the influence of such a medication. In some cases the plaintiff’s case gets dismissed stating that this behavior is a side effect and not misconduct now known as the Ambien defense. In others plaintiff’s end up in prison especially if someone was hurt or killed as a result of the behavior while under the influence of the drug. It is really up to the judge to decide if a side effect of a drug merits the same disciplinary action as when a defendant is voluntarily intoxicated.
The FDA has suggested the drug maker to research how and why these side effects are taking place. To date no research has been done to find out. With 60 million Americans taking sleeping medication with Ambien the number one prescribed sleep pill one has to wonder how safe we all are given what people are doing without even knowing it while on these legally prescribed drugs.

If you are having an issue with sleep disturbance first get whatever physiological reasons could be causing the problem ruled out by medical testing. Once that is done a hypnotist could very well be the safest way for you to contend with whatever may be keeping you awake at night. I have worked with several clients with this issue and it rarely takes more than a couple of sessions to clear the emotional issues that are creating the problem.

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photo by: SarahDeer

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