SAMHSA Reports: ER Visits Increased By 220% Resulting From Zolpidem Use

Once again Zolpidem is in the news…

On May 1, 2013, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a press release announcing that according to a new report there is a sharp rise in emergency departments visits which involve zolpidem (the sleep medication).  The report referenced is: Emergency Department Visits for Adverse Reactions Involving the Insomnia Medication Zolpidem and this report is based on findings of the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).

Highlights from the DAWN report…

  • The number of zolpidem-related emergency department (ED) visits involving adverse reactions increased nearly 220 percent from 6,111 visits in 2005 to 19,487 visits in 2010
  • Females accounted for two thirds (68 percent) of zolpidem-related ED visits involving adverse reactions in 2010
  • Patients aged 45 or older represented about three quarters (74 percent) of zolpidem-related ED visits involving adverse reactions while those aged 65 or older represented about one third (32 percent) of such visits
  • Half of visits (50 percent) involved other pharmaceuticals combined with zolpidem, including narcotic pain relievers (26 percent) and other anti-anxiety and insomnia medications (16 percent)

CBS This Morning discusses the new report from SAMHSA

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Some good advice from Peter Delany, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality

Many people see a number of different physicians due to various health conditions that may require a specialist. They may have a primary care physician, but also see an endocrinologist for diabetes or a gynecologist for reproductive issues. This means that it is incumbent upon the patient to keep all of their medical care providers informed of all prescription drug medications that are being taken. This includes sharing this information with your pharmacist.  In keeping with this, Peter Delany the director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality offered the following sound advice:

“This report shows that like any prescription drug, sleep medications containing zolpidem must be used as prescribed, under a doctor’s supervision. It’s particularly important that physicians and patients talk frankly about any other drugs, including alcohol, that the patient may be using that could cause harmful interactions with zolpidem.”

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