Does ambien make a sleepwalking criminal out of you?

I took some of this stuff for a little while and I don't believe the claims below.  When millions of people are taking the stuff a small percentage of them will be sleepwalkers (with or without the pill).  And that is all we see, I think.  There doesn't even seem to be a proper epidemiological study below.  It is just anecdote piled on anecdote.  As far as I can see, Zolpidem is just a whipping-boy for faults that lie elsewhere.  It is just a convenient scapegoat for various unknowns.  After all it is made by a DRUG COMPANY and they make PROFITS!  Unforgiveable!

Sleeping pills taken by celebrities including Lindsay Lohan and Tiger Woods – and prescribed widely in Britain – could be to blame for numerous cases of dangerous and even criminal behaviour.

Zolpidem [Ambien; Stilnox], which is handed out to 750,000 NHS patients seeking treatment for insomnia each year, has been found to be a factor in dozens of instances of people breaking the law while sleeping.

They include 43 instances of driving, nine rapes, eight assaults, ten murders or manslaughters, and burglaries – all of which were claimed to have been carried out while the perpetrator was apparently asleep. In most cases they also had no memory of the event.

Neurologist Professor Mark Mahowald, of Sleep Forensic Associates, a US-based organisation of doctors who help those who break the law while still asleep, says: ‘It appears that one part of the brain responsible for complex activities, like driving or cooking, is awake, while another, involved in memory, is not.

Numerous studies have reported rare instances of patients driving, eating, making telephone calls and even having sex while under the influence of the medication.

One report, by doctors at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, claimed that up to one per cent of patients had a sleep-eating problem after taking the sedative. The only clues to their nocturnal feasting were morning leftovers and crumbs in the bed [Handy to blame snacking on Zolpidem}.

Patients being prescribed Zolpidem are already warned that changes in sleep behaviour, including sleepwalking, are a possible side effect, but this is the first time data on criminal behaviour linked to the drug has been comprehensively collected.

Mild and fleeting, so-called confusional arousals, such as waking up in a hotel room with no idea where you are, are common, especially in people who are over-tired.

Some researchers say the events seen in users of the drug occur during these arousals, and point out that no drug has ever been shown in laboratory studies to cause sleepwalking, a phenomenon that happens when the cortex is asleep but areas of the brain concerned with movement are active.


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