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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / Ambien Case Shows Common Drugs Can Be Dangerous To People And Drivers

Ambien Case Shows Common Drugs Can Be Dangerous To People And Drivers


Driving while intoxicated is, obviously, dangerous, and a horrendously bad idea. Most of us know that. Likewise for driving under the influence of drugs. But what many people don’t think about are the side effects of many common medications that we take, legally, both over the counter and with a prescription.

But just because a drug is legal, prescribed or widely used, doesn’t mean you should get behind the wheel while using them.

Ambien Gets Sued for Sleepwalking Side Effect

In a recent lawsuit, the drug Ambien, a popular prescription sleep aid, was sued.

Ambien is a powerful drug, and like many sleep drugs, the effects of Ambien can last longer than the user wants or intends it to. But Ambien wasn’t just causing users to wake up in the morning tired and drowsy: it was actually causing them to sleepwalk in a trance so severe, that many users reported, getting behind the wheel of their car while sleepwalking.

Users of the drug reported that in the middle of the night, they were in a “zombie-like” state—they did things they would do while awake, like eat or clean the house—and yes, get behind the wheel of a car—but they were not awake. They were sleepwalking, only halfway conscious. And as you might expect, behind the wheel, only halfway conscious, many got into serious car accidents.

Lawsuits and Ambien Defenses

The problem became so pervasive that many attorneys who represented defendants charged with crimes involving a vehicle, even started utilizing what became known as an “Ambien Defense,” essentially saying their clients couldn’t be criminally culpable, because they had no idea what they were doing given they were under the influence of Ambien.

Lawsuits were filed against Ambien, alleging the drug was causing people to overeat, drive, or handle dangerous equipment, without knowing they were doing any of those things.

The lawsuits lead to stronger warnings on drug labels, but drugs like Ambien are still available.

And while many may not cause the trance-like sleepwalking state that Ambien users experienced, many of these drugs do linger in people’s systems long after they wake up, and even during their morning commute to work.

Be Conscious of Side Effects and Warnings

Users of sleep drugs should be very careful about driving the day after they take the medications. Try to avoid taking these medications when you don’t have enough time for a full night sleep.

Make sure you know how long a given medication remains in your system. And if you are injured by someone under the influence of a prescription or over the counter medication, you may have a suit not just against the driver, but against the manufacturer of the drug that caused the driver to cause your accident.

If you are injured in any type of car accident, we can help. Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today.




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