Is a side effect of Ambien racism and anti-Semitism? Or does it simply lower someone’s inhibitions so their innate racism and anti-Semitism come out? Disgraced TV star Roseanne Barr says taking Ambien explains her recent tweets which instantly moved ABC to cancel her show.
Sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata, and Rozerem have been a gold mine for Pharma which has rolled out subcategories of insomnia like chronic, acute, transient, initial, delayed-onset, middle-of-the-night, early-morning and non-restful sleep to grow the market. But Ambien holds a special place among sleeping pills.
Many first heard of Ambien, in 2006 when former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy drove to Capitol Hill under its influence to “vote” at 2:45 a.m., crashing his car. Another Kennedy-related Ambien event occurred in 2014. A generic version of Ambien was found in the bloodstream of Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, and former wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, when she swerved into a tractor-trailer and kept driving. Witnesses said she was had been weaving for miles. Kennedy told police that she may have confused the Ambien with her daily thyroid med. In court she blamed a “partial seizure.”
In 2009, Ambien was again in the news when Tiger Woods reportedly used it to spice up sex with his string of consorts which led to his separation from Elin Nordegren Woods.
Soon Ambien became known for eerie blackouts in which people sleep-walked, sleep-drove, sleep-sexed, sleep-phoned and sleep-ate. Skinny dieters woke up horrified amid mountains of pizza, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Häagen-Dazs cartons consumed by their evil twin. One woman told me she woke up after taking Ambien to find her fingers black and discovered she had drunk a bottle of black shoe polish in an Ambien blackout.
As Ambien grew in popularity, law enforcement officials reported traffic accidents increasing with some drivers not even recognizing police officers there to arrest them. (Dude! Can ya help me get my car out of this ditch?) Sanofi-Aventis, Ambien’s manufacturer, was forced to publish ads telling people if they were going to take Ambien, to get in bed and stay there. Or you’ll break out in handcuffs.
In 2012, the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minn., announced it would no longer prescribe Ambien to inpatients because of the high risk of falls. Data on more than 16,000 hospitalized patients found that the fall rate on Ambien was more than four times that of those not on the sleeping pill. Ambien was correlated with more falls than factors like age, mental impairment, delirium or insomnia, wrote authors in Journal of Hospital Medicine, reports Newsday.
And there are more negatives to Ambien, when used with psych drugs: Ambien-associated homicides. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders reported “This Brief Report presents 2 cases in which concomitant zolpidem [Ambien] and paroxetine [Paxil] use was associated with uncharacteristic, complex acts of violence for which the individuals in question claimed total or partial amnesia. Neither individual had a history of aggressive behavior before killing his or her spouse; both most likely took more than 5 mg of zolpidem on the nights of their offenses.”
Yes, Ambien is another dangerous drug driven by Pharma profits at the expense of public health. But it does not excuse Barr’s tweets.
Martha Rosenberg is a freelance journalist and the author of the highly acclaimed “Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health,” published by Prometheus Books. Check her Facebook pag