Drowsy Driving Gets the Attention of the FDA

Categories: Distracted Driving

drowsy driving while taking medicineDrowsy driving has been the focus of many studies in the last few years. It has come to our attention just how dangerous it can be to get behind the wheel when tired. In fact, driving when you’re too tired can have the same effect as if you were drinking alcohol. For this reason, governmental organizations and safety nonprofits have been fighting against drowsy driving. The most recent organization to enter the fight was somewhat of a surprise: the FDA. While the FDA usually has no say in highway safety, they recently weighed in by reducing the starting dose of the drug Lunesta.

Lunesta and Drowsy Driving

Lunesta is a popular sleep aid medication that recently was studied in connection with side effects of drowsiness, loss of coordination, and memory. In some patients, effects of Lunesta were still noticeable up to 11 hours after taking the medication. For many patients, this means that they would still be experiencing these effects during their rush hour commutes. Since a combination of rush hour traffic, drowsiness, and lack of coordination can be deadly, this has led to concerns about the drug’s safety.

In order to mitigate the bad side effects of the drug in the morning, the makers of Lunesta have cut the initial dose in half. The dosage is now down to one milligram, while it previously was two milligrams. The FDA had previously reduced the recommended dosage of Ambien and generic sleep aids with the ingredient zolpidem. This means that Lunesta is the second sleep aid to trigger concerns about drowsy driving.

It is important for the FDA to recognize the possible safety risk posed by drugs like Lunesta that can make patients drowsy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 71,000 people in the U.S. are injured in car wrecks caused by drowsy driving every year. In light of this, anti-insomnia medications are both a benefit and a risk. While they help patients who otherwise have difficulty sleeping get necessary rest, these drugs can extend the period when patients feel tired into the next morning’s activities.

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Although drivers are responsible for not getting behind the wheel when impaired, it is important to make people aware of risk factors, especially since drowsy driving is so dangerous. Every day, hundreds of people are injured in drowsy driving accidents. If you are someone who has been a victim of a drowsy driving accident, you deserve proper compensation. The offices of Van Sant Law are experienced accident attorneys who are ready to fight for your rights. Call us today to get a free consultation on your case.