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More On Drowsy Driving: FDA Acts To Reduce Sleep Aid Risks

Our last post covered the recent attention that has focused on drowsy driving dangers in the wake of a new report highlighting the number of fatal crashes that involve fatigued drivers. This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration entered the picture by approving new dosage recommendations for one of the nation's most popular sleep aids: Ambien.

Imagine this scenario: a cross-country trucker works several long shifts that require him to go without sleep for many hours at a time. During this period, his body begins to break away from a regular sleep cycle. This scrambled body clock gets worse over time and eventually it becomes difficult for him to fall asleep on a regular schedule.

Like many Americans, this trucker would likely turn to a drug like Ambien to help him get the sleep he needs to do his job safely. 

According to the FDA, however, the standard dosage recommendation that appears on every Ambien bottle is too high. People who take Ambien at this dose in the evening usually have traces of the substance in their body until well into the next morning. Of course, this means that they are likely to be more tired - and more likely to cause a fatigue-related crash.

Hopefully this new labeling requirement will help cut the number of fatal crashes that involve drowsy drivers.

Source: WebMD, "FDA: Lower Ambien's Dose to Prevent Drowsy Driving," Amanda Gardner, May 15, 2013 

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