FDA changes dosage requirements for sleeping pills, effects can last after you wake

If you use sleep aids to get a good nightâ??s rest, youâ??re not alone. An estimated 60 million prescriptions will be filled for sleeping pills in 2013, and users should be aware of the potential hazards, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The agency issued a requirement for doctors to cut doses of drugs that contain zolpidem, the active ingredient in sleeping pills. They say the drug can stay in your system after you wake, and can cause drowsy driving, which leads to an increase in traffic accidents.

The side-effect known as â??complex sleep related behaviorsâ?? is also a concern. This is when a person will eat or drive while under the influence of sleeping pills, and not be aware that they are doing it.

The F.D.A. also found that women eliminate zolpidem from their bodies more slowly than men, so they are at an even higher risk of drowsy driving.

Doctors are being told they can prescribe higher doses of sleeping drugs only if the lower doses donâ??t work.

The new dosage requirements apply to all insomnia, or sleep-aid, drugs containing zolpidem, including Ambien, Edluar and Zolpimist.

Be sure to talk to your doctor if you use a sleep-aid and are unsure if your dosage is affected.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.