Sleeping Pills May Spell Trouble for Older Drivers

THURSDAY, Feb. 25, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Older drivers who use the sleeping pill zolpidem, sold widely as Ambien, may have a higher risk of motor vehicle crashes, a new study suggests.

Researchers evaluated the five-year driving records of 2,000 Alabama residents, aged 70 and older, comparing those who used the sleeping pill to those who did not. Women who used Ambien had a 61 percent higher probability of a crash over five years compared to nonusers, the study found.

“The risk was over twofold [higher] for all drivers over 80,” said senior study author Gerald McGwin, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

But the current study was only designed to find an association between car accidents and sleeping pill use.

“We haven’t demonstrated a cause and effect,” McGwin said.

Still, the link is concerning, he said, and doctors and patients should pay more attention…

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