Ambien (zolpidem) is a sedative-hypnotic drug used to treat insomnia. The most terrifying side effect of Ambien is performing activities, such as driving, in your sleep and having no memory of it when you wake up.

Ambien Side Effects

Some of Ambien’s most dangerous side effects include:

  • Parasomnias, including driving, eating, having sex, and doing other activities while asleep
  • Memory loss
  • New or worsening depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Abnormal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Aggressive behavior

Other people may not realize that you are not conscious while engaging in activities on Ambien. Ambien users have been known to make phone calls and send texts or emails in their sleep.

The Ambien Defense

Ambien-induced sleep-driving and violence are so common and well-known that criminal courts now have to deal with what many are calling “the Ambien defense”. Defendants facing criminal charges stemming from car accidents and violent murders are raising the defense that they were not responsible for their actions because they were under the influence of Ambien, and cannot even remember the events.

Many of the defendants are winning because their intoxication was not voluntary. Intoxication is not a defense in cases of drunk driving or violent acts committed while under the influence of recreational drugs, because the person who committed the crime presumably knew the risk when they chose to become intoxicated.

Ambien users who sleep-drive or commit violent acts take the drug because they trust their doctors and are unaware of the fact that it could lead to such horrors.

Sleep Eating

While not as awful or sensational as murdering someone you love, sleep eating is a dangerous side effect of Ambien use. It is dangerous in several ways.

People who do it eat anything and everything, like zombies. Ambien users have been known to eat raw meat and other unsafe foods, as well as other substances such as cleaning supplies. They binge eat and they have no memory of it. For people with certain health conditions, binge eating can be very dangerous and lead to worsening of the existing condition.

It is not just eating in your sleep that is dangerous. Many reports are of people cooking while unconscious on Ambien, which can easily lead to serious injuries or a fire.

If you have been injured while taking Ambien, injured someone else while taking the drug, or if you have been injured by someone who was under the influence of Ambien or lost a loved one to an accident or violent act committed by someone who was under the influence of this dangerous medication, please talk to an Ambien injury attorney in your area right away.