Ambien Side Effects May Include Car Accidents
When we think of liability for defective drugs, we often think of negative effects of the drug itself; that is, the drug causes cancer, or gets someone ill. But as recent lawsuits against prescription drug Ambien show, drug liability can come in a number of forms.
What is Ambien?
Ambien is a drug that assists people in sleeping; it is considered to be a treatment for insomnia. Although the drug should only be taken for shorter periods of time, in a nation that works multiple jobs and long hours, a good night’s sleep has become essential, leading to more and more people using the drug for longer and longer periods of time.
The Side Effects
Like most drugs, Ambien has a long list of side effects. But one side effect in particular has led to a slate of lawsuits against the drug’s manufacturer: sleepwalking.
On the surface, sleepwalking seems like a relatively innocuous and harmless side effect. But the sleepwalking is so serious, that some have alleged that they are getting up in the middle of the night, with the Ambien in their system, and doing things like eating uncontrollably (or eating inedible foods, like uncooked eggs), or posting on social media, or even getting behind the wheel of a car, all without knowing what they were doing.
Sleepwalking is almost a partial state of consciousness; the user is aware enough to do things like get behind the wheel of a car, but the user is not fully conscious or aware of what he or she is doing. Users describe the experience as literally like being in a trance.
The experience is so common that many criminal defense attorneys have even used the term “Ambien defense,” to defend against criminal DUI charges when DUIs are allegedly caused by the user being on Ambien.
The problem isn’t just overnight sleepwalking. When the Ambien user wakes up, the Ambien has not left the user’s system. The leftover Ambien can not only cause sleepwalking (or driving) overnight, but there is enough left over in the victim’s blood stream while the victim wakes up to make it difficult, if not dangerous, for the victim to do things like operate a vehicle.
In 2006, a class action lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer of Ambien, alleging that the drug caused the Plaintiffs to eat and drive while sleeping.
Although the drug manufacturer denied the claims, the case is a reminder of the dangers of prescription medicine—and the right of victims to sue, in the event that a medicine doesn’t work as designed, or in the event that a medication doesn’t have the appropriate warnings of possible side effects on them (the Ambien lawsuits lead to stronger warnings on the medicine label).
Were you injured by a defective drug, or were you in an accident that you think was caused by a medicine? Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today.