The Food and Drug Administration is requiring manufacturers of
certain sleeping pills, including Ambien, to
reduce current recommended dosages.
Ambien, as well as the generic forms
of Ambien, all contain the ingredient zolpidem, which can cause morning
drowsiness. The National Institute of Health cautions that Ambien can cause impaired motor and cognitive function in the elderly. Researchers also found last year that Ambien is among the sleeping pills that increase the risk of hip fracture in nursing home residents.
Studies have shown that women eliminate zolpidem at a slower rate
than men, which was part of the reason behind the FDAs recommendations.
The recommended dosage for women will now be 5 milligrams (down from
10) and 6.25 mg for Ambien CR (down from 12.5 mg). The FDA has
said that healthcare professionals should consider prescribing the lower
doses for men as well.
The FDA's change does not affect sleeping aids such as Lunesta and Sonata, which have different ingredients.