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Medical News & Perspectives
June 5, 2013

Zolpidem-Related Surge in Emergency Department Visits

JAMA. 2013;309(21):2203. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6289

Emergency department visits involving adverse reactions to the sleep medication zolpidem increased 220% from 2005 to 2010, from 6111 visits to 19 487 visits, said the authors of a report issued May 1 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Nearly 3 in 4 zolpidem-related emergency department visits involved patients aged 45 years or older, and roughly two-thirds were women.

An estimated 50 million to 70 million people in the United States have chronic sleep disorders. Zolpidem, a sedative-hypnotic medicine, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992 for the short-term treatment of insomnia and is the active ingredient in such drugs as Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, and Zolpimist.