Most patients who are given Ambien as a prescription medication ignore the FDA safety recommendations by taking the drug for longer than they are supposed to. According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, 77 percent of patients who use Ambien report sustained use despite the significant decline in efficacy after 14 days of continued use.
Thomas J. Moore, AB, from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and Donald R. Mattison, MD, MS, from Risk Sciences International, wrote that Ambien was “the most widely used prescription hypnotic medication and the fourth most frequently prescribed psychiatric drug in 2013.”
“However, the prescribing information and FDA Drug Safety Communications include limitations to reduce adverse effects, including short-term use because of loss of efficacy; a lower dose of 5 mg per day for those 65 years or older, and the lower starting dose for women because of 45% to 50% higher blood concentrations; and increased risks when combined with other central nervous system depressant drugs,” they wrote.
Sustained Usage of Ambien: Going Beyond Prescription is causing many health issues. The study defined “sustained use” of Ambien as three or more prescriptions or 61 days or more of supply. The researchers then assessed the characteristics and patterns of potentially unsafe use of Ambien using data from the 2015 US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Studies have also shown that maintaining a healthier diet can help before addiction sets in, or during addiction recovery.
The data they collected indicates that 3.8 million adults aged 18 to 85 years were prescribed with Ambien (zolpidem) one or more times in 2015. Ambien use almost doubled among women compared with men, and the research also showed that usage seemed to increase with age.
The higher daily dose of zolpidem (10mg or 12.5mg) was given to 64 percent of adults aged 65 and older, 68 percent of which were women.
The most concerning thing about this data, however, is the fact that approximately 79 percent of individuals exposed to Ambien reported sustained use as opposed to short-term use. Those in the sustained use group used a median of 192 days’ supply. This means a significant portion of people prescribed with Ambien are at risk of the drug’s potential side effects. The study also goes to show how potent and habit-forming the drug can be.
Individuals don’t seek out Ambien for recreational use, but this can change the moment they misuse their prescription.
It is also worth noting that about 41 percent of Ambien users also had sustained use of at least one other depressant medication, such as opioids, and benzodiazepines. 77 percent of individuals taking Ambien did not follow the recommendations given by the FDA to reduce risk.
“It is effective only for short-term use; because women and the elderly have 45% to 50% higher blood levels, use the lower recommended dose; avoid multiple drugs that target the same gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors or depress the central nervous system; warn patients about next-day impairment that they may not be aware of can occur,” Moore said.
Moore reminded physicians to observe the safety recommendations for this drug. Nowadays, prescription medications are the center of a very distressing epidemic: the opioid crisis. More and more people are dying from an opioid overdose. But this can be avoided with proper use of medications. Take Ambien exactly as prescribed. Do not take larger doses, and do not use it for longer than is prescribed.
It also helps to keep in touch with the physician and report any side effects to make sure the patient is using the drug properly.
If someone is addicted to opioids, addiction treatment is necessary. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in their fight against the effects of substance abuse. But the most effective treatment programs are the ones that make use of a comprehensive, personalized approach. Look for a drug rehab facility nearby and find out what can be done to manage the effects of drug abuse.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
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