Thank the F.D.A for Recommending Lower Doses of Sleep Aids

Target: Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration

Goal: Thank the F.D.A for adjusting sleep aid recommendations for women.

For nearly 20 years, Ambien has been a popular sleep aid utilized by millions of Americans to help them fall asleep and stay asleep. Ambien’s effects last eight hours, guaranteeing a full night’s sleep. After that, the effects are supposed to wear off, and allow the user to wake up feeling refreshed. Yet, for as long as Ambien has been on the market, the Food and Drug Administration has been getting complaints that the effects last for longer than eight hours.

The F.D.A recently reviewed laboratory studies, and found the women should be taking half as much as the previously recommended dose. Thank the F.D.A for adjusting dosage recommendations to take into account women’s different metabolisms.

Every year there are car accidents that have been linked to sleep aids. Sleep aids often warn people not to operate machinery or drive a car until the effects of the sleep aid wear off. The effects, however, are not supposed to last for more than eight hours. People would wake up in the morning, and mistakingly assume the affects of the sleep aid had worn off. This belief has led to car accidents and other similar incidents.

Since 2006, sleep aid prescriptions have spiked 20 percent, with 60 million prescriptions being dispensed in 2011. In light of car accidents, and continued reports of drowsiness, the F.D.A has reviewed clinical studies focusing on sleep aids, drowsiness and driving accidents.

The studies show that women often take longer to process zolpidem, a common ingredient found in sleep aids. Eight hours after taking the recommended dose, 15 percent of women had impaired levels of zolpidem in their blood stream. This means that up to 15 percent of women taking sleep aids could be impaired while driving in the morning. In comparison, only three percent of men were impaired after eight hours.

The decision to adjust sleep aid dose recommendations is an issue of safety as well as health. Thank the F.D.A for lowering the recommended sleep aid dose for women.


Dear Dr. Hamburg,

Doctors and the medical community have long worried about the effects of sleep aids lasting longer than the intended eight hours. Every year, there are reports of car accidents that could be linked to sleep aids. Recent studies found that for up to 15 percent of women, the effects of sleep aids continued to impair them after eight hours. This was true for only three percent of men.

I would like to thank you for adjusting the recommended dosage of sleep aid as it pertains to women. Lowering the recommended dose means that women are more likely to take a smaller amount, or talk to their doctors about the dosage that is right for them. This new recommendation has the potential to prevent car accidents, and other unintended consequences of taking sleep aids.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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