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Sleep-driving reported with sleeping pill

March 8, 2006 at 5:34 PM

NEW YORK, March 8 (UPI) -- The sleeping pill Ambien is showing up in a growing number of impaired driving cases, including some where people said they were sleep-driving.

Some states report that Ambien is on the top 10 list of drugs found in blood tests for drivers arrested for being under the influence, the New York Times reports.

Ambien, manufactured by Sanofi-Aventis, has been available in the United States for 13 years and is now the best-selling prescription sleeping medication. The company says that the drug is safe if properly used, which means taken just before bedtime and not in combination with alcohol.

At least some of the people who have reported problems with Ambien appear to be breaking those rules. Anne Marie Gordon of the Washington State Toxicology Lab said she had heard of drivers who took a pill on the way home so it would "kick in" by the time they reached their destinations.

"Hello -- it kicked in before you got home?" Gordon said. "That's not a good thing. I'm amazed at the number of people who do that."

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