Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Disturbances in the Fine Print

Luckily I do not have problems sleeping. And, after reading the side effects and warnings accompanying a prescription sleeping aide, I will count sheep or some other non-medical trick to avoid the need for such a drug. Someone must have a serious sleep deprivation problem or want to live on the edge to be willing to take such drastic measures. Or, maybe they don't read the instructions. The following are actual side effects and warnings for a sleep medication issued by the drug company (and its attorneys I am sure to cover all liability.) Whatever the case, if offers little solace to those seeking peace. But, who really reads "the fine print".

The "possible" side effects:
  • chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, feeling short of breath
  • trouble breathing or swallowing; or
  • feeling like you might pass out

Less serious side effects may include:
  • daytime drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, feeling "drugged" or light-headed;
  • tired feeling, loss of coordination;
  • dry mouth, nose or throat irritation;
  • nausea, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach;
  • stuffy nose, sore throat; or
  • headache, muscle pain.
And, worse yet, the warnings:
  • Nervous system side effects most frequently have included visual disturbances, ataxia, and dizziness. Headache, drugged feeling, confusion, anterograde amnesia, excessive sedation, lightheadedness, delirium, nightmares, hallucinations, nervousness, and agitation have also been reported.
Before taking the medication, advise your Doctor if you have any:
  • Alcohol abuse, or history of 
  • Drug abuse or dependence, history of—Dependence on this drug  may develop.
  • Diseases affecting metabolism or disease involving blood circulation—Caution should be used in patients with these medical problems.
    • Emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic lung disease 
    • Mental depression, history of or
    • Mental illness, history of or
    • Myasthenia gravis (severe muscle weakness) or
    • Sleep apnea (temporary stopping of breathing during sleep)—use  may make these conditions worse.
    • Kidney disease or
    • Liver disease—Use with caution. Higher blood levels of the use may result, increasing the chance of side effects.

Complex behaviors such as “sleep-driving” (i.e., driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic, with amnesia for the event) have been reported in sedative-hypnotic-naive as well as in sedative-hypnotic-experienced persons.

In primarily depressed patients treated with sedative-hypnotics, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions (including completed suicides), have been reported. Suicidal tendencies may increase.

And, if you do decide to take this medication, for God's sake talk with your Doctor before you consider stopping because withdrawal symptoms after either abrupt cessation or fast tapering may occur. Withdrawal symptoms may include agitation, restlessness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, tremor, nausea, abdominal discomfort, and sweating.

It would do me no good, because I would lie in bed every night, looking at the ceiling pondering my certain doom waiting for the signs of chest pains, irregular heart beat, or trouble breathing. Of course, I am sure the stuffy nose, head ache, muscle pain, and dry mouth would also be an issue. And, I as I feared my oncoming  demise, there would be no rest for the weary, for if I did succumb to sleep, I am sure I would be a victim of "sleep driving".

1 comment:

Linda Medrano said...

Ann, when I see these things advertised on tv, I have to laugh. Serious side effects, including death, have been reported. Great! Where can I get me some of that great medication? I swear, the prospect of "an erection lasting longer than 4 hours" would scare the hell out of most people, wouldn't it?