Wake-Up Call for Those Taking Sleeping Pills

Huge jump in emergency visits linked to sleeping prescriptions like Ambien.
1:45 | 05/01/13

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Transcript for Wake-Up Call for Those Taking Sleeping Pills
for anyone who takes ambien or the generic version of the sleeping pill ap I new report shows a huge jump in emergency room visits and most of them are women. Abc's lisa stark with those details tonight. Reporter: A growing number of those who are popping ambien or its generic version, zolpidem, are ending up in the emergency room. A new study finds adverse reactions, which can include hallucinations, paranoia, and confusion, sent more than 19,000 PEOPLE TO ERs IN 2010. A 220 percent increase from 2005. And 2/3 of them were women. Why more women than men? I think we know that women clear the drug from their system more slowly than men. And in fact, the fda recommended a lower dose for women than men . Reporter: This sleeping pill has often been in the news for a very dangerous side effect. You hit shing with your car. Reporter: Sleep driving. I tried a simulated driving test on ambien and found out how scary this is. 30 minutes after taking the drug -- 90 minutes after, i smash into a big rig. At four hours, I think I'm okay. But see this red light? I run right through it. The drug's manufacturer says it stands "behind the substantial body of clinical data demonstrating the safety and efficacy of ambien and its 20 years of real-world use. Reporter: More than half of those who went to the er had mixed the sleeping pill with another drug or alcohol, which can boost side effects. Doctors warn that this extremely popular drug must be used carefully. Lisa stark, abc news, washington.

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