For people who have difficulty sleeping, it is easy to think that only positives result from using these aids to get a better night’s sleep. While Alabamans may believe they wake up alert and ready to tackle their day after using sleep aids, data suggests the opposite may be true.
The Risk of Sleep Aids in Alabama
The University of Alabama at Birmingham released the findings of a new study which found that certain types of prescription sleep aids may dramatically increase the risk of accidents on Alabama roads.
The study found that prescription sleep aids including the ingredient zolpidem enhance the risk of drivers 80 and older as well as all women, regardless of their age. In sum, drivers over 80 increase their accident risk by 124 percent when taking sleep aids with zolpidem, and women enhance their risk of a collision by 65 percent.
Researchers believe the increased accident risk is based largely on the drug’s side effects. Upon waking, zolpidem causes drowsiness and impaired coordination. As such, instead of waking alert, Alabama drivers using prescription sleep aids with zolpidem are drowsy and uncoordinated. Needless to say, this is a dangerous combination for Alabama drivers and the safety of citizens.
Dangers such as these are why the FDA has instructed drugmakers of traditional prescriptions to lower the dosage. FDA research showed that these drugs remained in the bloodstream and caused morning driving drowsiness. Unsurprisingly, zolpidem was the cause of sleepiness in these drugs as well.
Other Drugs Spike Accident Risk As Well
Zolpidem may be the latest medication found to cause more accidents, but it is not the only one. Antihistamines are also found to cause drowsiness and impairment behind the wheel, so Alabamans should be careful when taking allergy medications such as Claritin before driving.
Alabama drivers have a responsibility to know when they are too impaired to operate their vehicle safely, and if they knowingly drive when impaired, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the driver for your injuries. However, in some cases, Alabama drivers are not informed about the impairing factors of their medication.
Drug manufacturers may not disclose the safety risks of their sleep aids or medication to healthcare providers, which means a doctor cannot properly warn patients of the risks. As a result, the drug manufacturer could then be held liable for negligence in a product liability lawsuit.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident because an Alabama driver was using a sleep aid that impaired their ability to drive safely, you might be entitled to legal compensation. If you sustained injuries in an accident of this nature in the city of Foley or Mobile, Baldwin or Escambia Counties, you need an attorney who will hold the negligent party or parties accountable. Contact attorney Noel B. Leonard or call 251-943-8638 for a legal consultation to discuss your case today.