Sleep-driving Cited to be Caused by Sleeping Pills

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Traffic safety has been the concern of every government in the world. Common causes of traffic accidents are drunk driving and distracted driving. These problems are being addressed by different sectors in the community. Ad campaigns against drunk driving and distracted driving have been launched in an effort to actually curb the still increasing number of traffic accidents.

Recently though, a rare but potentially harmful behavior is uncovered. Aside from drunk and distracted driving, sleep driving is also one behavior that the concerned sectors of the U.S. government are addressing.

The act of sleep driving is a more complicated form of sleep walking. But instead of merely walking, those people exhibiting this rare behavior drives while sleeping and wakes up with no memory of what he or she just did. The behavior was brought into the attention of the public when Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car and maintained that he had no memory of ever driving the car. In connection with this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has linked the behavior as a side effect of sleeping pills. It can be remembered that Rep. Kennedy admitted to have taken Ambien, a prescription sleeping pill.

The government agency though did not report the number of sleep driving cases attributed as side effects of sleeping pills. But what the agency reported is that they have recovered more than a dozen instances of sleep driving incidents after taking sleeping pills. The FDA is also concerned that aside from the dozen or so reported incidents, there are still more incidents not reported. There are millions of prescriptions for sleeping pills that the agency said that sleep driving is a rare occurrence. But since sleep driving is dangerous since there is still no proof if a person can really operate properly the gas and pedals while sleeping, the government agency maintained that there should be steps taken to caution the patients from taking sleeping pills.

The first step that the FDA will enforce is the proper labeling of warnings on prescription drugs. Among the side effects that should be made known to consumers are sleep driving and other various complex sleep related behaviors like making phone calls, fixing and eating food. These behaviors are less dangerous than sleep driving but they also do pose as a threat to individuals who might experience it.

There should also be warning that cautions individuals of possible life-threatening allergic reactions and also the risk of severe face swelling. Another step that FDA will be taking to address this rare but potentially dangerous behavior is to notify doctors all over the country of the new warnings. That way, these doctors would then be updated about the probably causes these sleeping pills have on patients.

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