Be alert about sleep medicine

A new report from the federal Substance Abuse

A new report from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found a "sharp rise" in emergency room visits from adults having an adverse reaction to the drug zolpidem, the active ingredient used in many popular sleep medications. (Credit: iStock)

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If you're taking a prescription medication to help you sleep, be sure to read the label carefully. Even better, ask your doctor and pharmacist about potential problems.

A new report from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found a "sharp rise" in emergency room visits from adults having an adverse reaction to the drug zolpidem, the active ingredient used in many popular sleep medications, including Ambien, Edluar and Zolpimist. Three-quarters of the patients seeking emergency help were 45 or older.

The report said half the visits involved an interaction between zolpidem and another drug, typically a prescription narcotic pain reliever or an anti-anxiety medication.

For more information, go to samhsa.gov.

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