FDA Lowers Recommended Dose of Sleep Aid to Prevent Drowsy Driving

pillow%20talk.jpgYou don’t necessarily have to be sleep-deprived to fall asleep at the wheel causing an accident. If you are driving under the influence of some prescription medications, especially sleep medication or anti-depressants, you are just as likely to doze off while driving.

Sleep medications, antidepressants, hypertensives, and a range of other medications have known drowsiness-inducing properties. It’s not just prescription drugs that can increase accident risks. Even over-the-counter medications, like cough and cold medications come with a high risk of causing the kind of drowsiness that many motorists tend to ignore.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was lowering the recommended starting dose for a sleep medication, because of studies that find an increased risk of drowsiness and impaired driving several hours after taking the medication. According to the Food And Drug Administration, its studies indicate that motorists who take the popular drug Lunesta continued to experience the depressing effects of the drug for several hours after they take the medication. For instance, a motorist who takes the drug before going to sleep, is likely to feel the effects of the drug even when he driving the next morning. The study found that the drug remained in the person’s system for as many as eight hours after taking the drug.

As a result, the agency has made the decision to lower the recommended starting dose of the drug. Earlier, the recommended dose was 3 mg and now, the agency has decided that the starting dose should be 1 mg or 2 mg for both men and women. The agency is also encouraging doctors to start off low doses for both males and females, and exercise caution while deciding to increase the dose of the drug. A high dose of the drug like a 3 mg dose taken at bedtime would seriously increase the risk of drowsy driving the very next day.

The Food and Drug Administration also cautions patients who are currently taking Lunesta to discuss the need for the drug with their doctor. If you cannot get the dose lowered, then it is highly recommended that you avoid driving and any other activities that require a high level of alertness.

The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy are dedicated to the representation of persons who have been injured due to the negligence of medical professionals. If you have suffered due to the negligence of a health care professional, consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney at our firm.