FDA Recommends Ladies Cut Sleeping Pill Dosage in Half Because—ZZZzzzz

Yo, girl. I got your text late last night, but I'm not exactly sure what "haha, so funny. Justin Timberlake in a sweet chimpanzee banana hat" means. Sure, that sounds funny, but I just need you to clarify what you meant when you wrote it. Huh? You don't even remember sending it? Well, maybe that's because you're taking too many sleeping pills. At least the FDA (and a whole bunch of correlating data) seems to think so, which is why they're now recommending that women take half as much Ambien (or any sleep aid containing zolpidem, which is in the majority of them) than what they were taking before.

Over 40 million prescriptions of products containing zolpidem were dispensed in 2011 and with those prescriptions came a bevy of side effects for many of its users. People most commonly complained of still being drowsy in the morning after having ingested the pill the night before and there have been several incidences of car accidents caused by sleeping pill-induced neglect. Other side effects include users making late night phone calls, sending texts eating food, or ordering things online and not remembering any of it in the morning.

The Food and Drug Administration has long been expected to add restrictions to drugs containing zolpidem (because these side effects aren't new), but has only acted recently (as in yesterday) by halving the recommended dosage for its female users. But why just the ladies? Because, in general, we take more time to metabolize the drug than men, so it stays in our bloodstream longer. 8 hours after taking a sleeping pill, an estimated 10-15% of women will still have enough zolpidem in their system to impair their driving, whereas with men, it's an estimated 3%.

So, yes, you might want to cut back on the sleep aids, unless of course you take public transit, in which case you should probably double your dosage.*

*Do not take more than the recommended amount of sleep aids. Besides, public transit is a delight.

Image via bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.

Drug Agency Recommends Lower Doses of Sleep Aids for Women [NYT]