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FDA Recommends Cutting Sleeping Pill Dosage for Women

What? You woke up with a half eaten container of ice cream next to your bed and don’t remember eating it or getting up to get it? Sounds like you may have taken too many sleeping pills. This is happening to people every day and the FDA (among many other data sources) is recognizing it and trying to make a change. The FDA recommends taking half the normal dose of any sleeping aid containing zolpidem…which is the majority of them.

Millions of prescriptions for products containing zolpidem were dispensed in 2011 and came with a mass of side effects for many of its users. The most common side effects were continued drowsiness in the morning after having taken the pill the night before and quite a few reported car accidents caused by sleeping pill-induced neglect. Other side effects include users making late night phone calls, sending text messages, eating food or ordering things online and not remembering any of it in the morning.

Why are these side effects more severe in women? The answer is because in general, women take more time to metabolize the drug than men, so it stays in their system longer. Eight hours after taking sleeping pills, an estimated 10-15% of women still have enough zolpidem in their system to impair their driving. With men, only an estimated 3% will still have enough in their systems to cause any impairment. Because of these results, now the FDA recommends cutting sleeping pill dosage for women in half.

So, don’t be that woman who sends a random text to your best friend’s brother in the middle of the night that you will never live down, or drive to the grocery store when you’re supposed to be driving to work. Do yourself a favor and cut your sleep aids in half!




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