Report: E.R. Visits from Insomnia Drug-Related Injuries Increase Significantly

Drug interactions, improper use and addiction can be a real problem when it comes to prescription medications.

A recent government report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that the number of visits made to an emergency room in the past few years related to drugs containing zolpidem (Ambien) designed to treat insomnia has increased by 220 percent from 2005 to 2010. Majority of patients were ages 45 and up.

One of the potential problems is mixing medications. Nearly half of the ER visits involved the use of another substance such as anti-anxiety medication or narcotic pain medication. Patients’ prescriptions should be considered and use of medications closely monitored to evaluate any potential interactions.

Another problem is that certain activities (such as driving) could be impacted by the effects of the medication. Some side effects could be dangerous, like hallucinations and sleepwalking. Patients still experiencing drowsiness in the morning have a higher risk of being injured.

Manufacturers have reduced the regular dosage recommended for women, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also recommending the same be done for men who take these kinds of medications. The number of cases involving women seeking care at an ER for problems with zolpidem rose 274 percent, and the number of cases involving men rose 144 percent.

Liability for Injuries Caused by Prescription Drugs

Many times when injuries occur as a result of prescription drugs, user behavior is blamed. But sometimes it is the result of a doctor or pharmacist failing to account for the potential harmful reactions that can be experienced when a patient is taking more than one medication.

It could also be that a drug manufacturer has failed to correctly label or warn users of serious side effects. With a variety of possibilities, patients may choose to contact at attorney atGacovino, Lake & Associates when a patient has been injured by a prescription medication.

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