Ambien linked to overnight food bingingMar 14, 2006 | UPI
U.S. studies have shown the popular sleeping pill Ambien triggers overnight sleepwalking and binge-eating without being aware of it among some users.
"These people are hell-bent to eat," said Dr. Mark Mahowald, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis, which is researching the odd side effect.
User Brenda Pobre, 54, of Salinas, Calif., said she would awaken to find candy wrappers next to her bed and Popsicle sticks on the floor near the refrigerator. She did not link Ambien to her nocturnal eating until after she gained 100 pounds, The New York Times said.
Her case is one being studied by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Ambien, the U.S. brand name for the drug zolpidem, is sold in some countries under the brand names Stilnox and Stilnocht. It is by far the biggest U.S. seller with $2.2 billion in annual sales among a group of similar prescription sleeping drugs such as Lunesta and Sonata.
Sanofi-Aventis, the French company that makes the drug, has defended its safety in 13 years of use in the United States, and said all cases of sleep-eating have been reported to the Food and Drug Administration.