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Ambien users wake up, smell the lawsuits

Janet Makinen, a Florida housewife, was prescribed Ambien in 1998 for insomnia. About two weeks later, she began walking in her sleep to her kitchen and devouring food.

It didn’t matter what kind of food, either. Makinen, 55, of Dade City, Fla., wolfed down raw eggs, uncooked rice, cans of vegetables, loaves of bread, and bags of chips and candy.

An hour after her binge-eating, she’d wake up vomiting.

Makinen gained so much weight from the nocturnal feedings that she ballooned from a size 1 to a size 12. She still suffers from stomach problems, including an ulcer.

She stopped taking Ambien in 2005. And now she’s suing Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturer of the popular prescription sleeping medication.

A class-action suit filed March 6 in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York claims that Ambien caused Makinen and hundreds of other users to enter into trance-like states in which they drove cars, binged on food and engaged in other activities they have no memory of.

The suit accuses Sanofi-Aventis of inadequately warning users of the dangers of amnesic sleep-eating, sleepwalking and sleep-driving.

New York attorney Susan Chana Lask, who filed the suit, said that in addition to damages, she wants the manufacturer to provide stronger warnings about Ambien’s potential dangers.

As of March 22, about 500 other plaintiffs had joined the suit.

Ambien was introduced to the market in 1993, but its sales have soared in the past few years — due mainly to an intensive consumer advertising campaign.

Last year, an estimated 26.5 million prescriptions were dispensed for Ambien — more than double the number written in 2001 — making it the nation’s best-selling prescription sleeping pill.

Lask said she first heard about the phenomenon of amnesic sleep-eating in an e-mail from Makinen.

“I thought it was just crazy,” Lask recalled. “Who sleep-eats?”

But she mentioned the e-mail to her legal assistant, who said that she, too, had done some somnambulistic food-foraging.

That’s when Lask began researching the possible side effects of Ambien, which turn out to include sleep-eating, sleepwalking and sleep-driving.

She discovered bizarre behavior is not uncommon: “They cook full meals, but they’re disgusting meals. They’re like zombies. They’re just shoving things in their mouths. It’s this carnal thing.”

And the strange behavior that some users exhibit in their sleepwalking states occasionally even lands them in jail — much to their surprise, since amnesia is another documented side effect.

Other plaintiffs named in the class-action suit include:

Judith Renee Lasswell, a Navy lieutenant in Florida who was arrested for shoplifting DVDs and a candle from her naval base. She does not recall the alleged thefts.

Her security clearance has been revoked, and she faces larceny charges and dishonorable discharge from the Navy.

Christina Brothers, a financial analyst who was prescribed Ambien for insomnia in May 2005. After three days of taking her prescribed dose, she woke up on the concrete floor of a jail cell. Brothers learned from a police report that she got out of bed around 6 a.m., left her house, drove her mother’s car into a parked vehicle, left the scene and ran into another vehicle. She left that scene as well, returned home, had a chat with her mother and was arrested in her bedroom later that morning.
She remembers neither the accident, nor anything else from the morning of her arrest.

Kathleen Callahan, a New York lab technician who claims there were mornings when she found her refrigerator door open, crumbs on the floor, chocolate icing on her hands and a ring of chocolate around her mouth. One morning she woke up in bed with her hands in a potato chip box.

Callahan also alleges she was twice sexually assaulted by a neighbor while in a sleepwalking state.

One New York pharmaceutical defense lawyer specializing in class actions, who asked not to be named, said he thinks it is unlikely the New York case will proceed as a class action, because physicians receive information about a medication from many different sources and it could be difficult to isolate the communications physicians had with the manufacturer.

Following the recent news reports, Sanofi-Aventis issued a statement saying that sleepwalking occurs in about 4 percent of the adult population, and that while “events of sleepwalking have occurred during treatment with Ambien, these instances cannot be systemically linked to the product.”

It also said that a recent company analysis concluded that the current prescribing information is accurate: “Somnambulism is a possible rare adverse event.”

The manufacturer also reminded users that Ambien should only be taken when the user can have eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, and that it should never be taken with alcohol.

The Food and Drug Administration says the drug’s current warnings are adequate.

David Benjamin, a toxicologist in Newton, Mass., said that while the strange side effects of Ambien are very believable, a product liability suit against the manufacturer faces an uphill challenge.

“The warnings say take the drug while you’re in bed, and don’t take it while you’re driving,” he noted.

That could make it difficult to prove a “failure to warn” claim, according to Benjamin.

The New York pharmaceutical defense lawyer suggested that Sanofi-Aventis’ possible liability for its warnings about the risk of sleepwalking may hinge on whether the company had documented the risk of Ambien-caused sleepwalking, and withheld it from physicians and consumers.

Benjamin also said that Ambien-impaired individuals arrested for criminal behavior could argue a “lack of intent,” claiming they had no intent to drive a car or engage in illegal activity.

On The Road Again

Attorneys who specialize in drunk-driving cases are already running into Ambien cases.

William Head, an attorney in Atlanta who specializes in DUI defense, has defended several drivers who landed in jail after sleep-driving episodes.

“You’re seeing people with not one blemish on their driving history suddenly charged with a series of ridiculous driving situations,” he said. “They don’t know they’re driving.”

Head recently defended a man in Decatur, Ga., who had several drinks and took two Ambien. The last thing he remembers is watching David Letterman on television.

He was arrested on multiple driving charges, including driving on the wrong side of the road. But a judge was unconvinced that Ambien was the cause of the man’s bizarre behavior, since he had also consumed alcohol. As a result, Head’s client was convicted of driving under the influence.

In a new case, Head is representing a Florida businessman who took Ambien but hadn’t consumed any alcohol or other medications. When Fulton County, Ga. police pulled him over for erratic driving, the man’s pants were down around his ankles.

“He took it [Ambien] in the morning,” Head said. “The next thing, he’s driving in the broad daylight with his pants down.”

Head said he plans on arguing the case before a jury, which he hopes to educate about the risk of sleep-driving while using Ambien.

“The key to me in these cases is if the person taking the medication had no prior episodes of sleepwalking or sleep-driving, then that’s a very good case,” Head said.

“Because [Ambien’s] packaging materials in no way indicate the symptoms of getting behind the wheel and not knowing you’re there.”

There has also been at least one Ambien-related airline arrest.

Sean Joyce, a British painting contractor, was on a flight from Charlotte, N.C. to London last July. He had taken an Ambien pill and drunk several glasses of wine when he got up, grabbed a young woman sitting next to him, started yelling and ripped his shirt off.

Joyce reportedly threatened to kill himself and everyone on the plane. He was handcuffed and the plane was diverted to Boston.

“He woke up in a jail cell in East Boston with absolutely no memory of what happened,” said Michael C. Andrews, an attorney in Boston who defended Joyce.

Andrews convinced federal authorities that Joyce’s aggressive behavior and amnesia were caused by Ambien.

Under a plea agreement, Joyce was sentenced to the five days he had already served.

Twilight Zone

Benjamin, the Massachusetts toxicologist, likened the bizarre effects of Ambien in certain individuals to those of benzodiazepines, such as Halcion and Xanax.

“Somehow, they affect the brain adversely and people have this dissociative reaction where they do weird things that they don’t remember,” he said.

“We’ve known about these types of effects for date-rape drugs,” he said. “This is a very, very similar reaction.”

Ambien is classified as a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic.

William R. Johnson, a chemist at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, who studied Ambien-impaired drivers in Wisconsin over a six-year period, said it’s not clear why Ambien causes sleepwalking in some users. But he theorized that they may partially awaken after four or five hours of sleep.

“When you get beyond that four-hour period, in some people the medication loses some of its effect and it allows them to become semi-awake, but not conscious,” he said.

Sanofi-Aventis has recently released a timed-release sleeping pill, AmbienCR, aimed at maintaining a full eight hours of sleep.

Life In The Slow Lane

Many states don’t test for Ambien when making impaired-driving arrests. But in some state toxicology labs, Ambien is among the top 10 drugs found in impaired drivers.

The Wisconsin study identified Ambien in the bloodstreams of 187 drivers arrested from 1999 through 2004. More than half of the Ambien-impaired drivers also tested positive for alcohol, and nearly half tested positive for other drugs, including benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax and Klonopin.

In 21 cases where Ambien was the only drug found, driving behavior ranged from hitting light poles to running over curbs to driving in the wrong lane.

The main characteristic of Ambien-impaired drivers was that they drove well below the speed limit and kept driving until they hit something, according to Johnson.

“The slow speed was very common, and essentially driving until you couldn’t drive anymore. They tended to run into a stationary object, like a light pole or parked car,” he said.

In five cases in which no alcohol or other drugs were found, Johnson said, police reported that the Ambien-impaired drivers shared the same zombie-like characteristics.

“They seemed very much disoriented; their eyes wouldn’t focus on individuals,” he said. “They would just look right through a person.”

This article originally appeared in Lawyers Weekly USA, a sister publication of Wisconsin Law Journal.


  1. Get this VERY dangerous drug off of the market. I took Ambien and remember nothing after that.
    I put on strange clothing, drank alcohol and “sleep drived” until I drove my car
    into a divide. The last thing I remember was being in bed wanting to sleep. I woke up hours later
    in the Emergency room, having totalled my car. The only injury was to myself by my seatbelt. Thank
    god that is all. Now I am suffering the consequences of a DUI. A very painful and traumatic experience.

  2. I agree with Natasha, get this very DANGEROUS DRUG OFF THE MARKET! I to sleep drove, woke up to being arrested and lost my job two days later as I was a sales representative. Thank God I to didn’t hurt anyone else, I to wrecked my car. The drug companies make $$$$$$$ and do not want this off the market as they could careless…it is all about the MONEY. I knew about sleep walking and eating but not sleep driving until it happened to me. THIS EVENT HAS RUINED MY LIFE AS I NOW CAN’T GET A JOB BACK IN MEDICAL SALES DUE TO THIS NOW BEING ON MY RECORD, THIS IS WRONG!!!!!! When a drug has the ability to make you have side effects that can hurt others, this needs to be off the market!!!!!!! What will it take, killing a innocent victim that maybe associated with the pharma business until they can wake up.
    I think we need to start a class action lawsuit, and all of us who have had adverse events that have RUINED OUR LIFE! I can no longer get a background check as before with my work, as this has now blemished ME FOREVER!!!!! AND MY ABILITY TO MAKE INCOME…IT IS WRONG!

  3. I am 46 y.o. and took ambien as prescribed. I was arrested for DUI after sideswiping my older model minivan into a concrete barrier. I was taken to an ER and tested for drugs and alcohol (which were all neg. but the ambien). I was told all this by my wife the next day, since I literally lost a 24hr period due to this medication. I have paid over $2000 in restitution, not to mention that the vehicle was considered “totalled” because of its age and I was made to attend drug and alcohol classes. I would love to be involved with a class-action suit against ambien. Please contact me if anyone knows of one. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help.


  5. Glad to see that everyone is finally “Waking Up” about Ambien! This drug is the most addictive substance I have ever taken in my life, even though it is non-narcotic. I have nearly lost everything in my life. This needs to be taken off the market, it ruins the lives of people everyday. I am up front with this problem and talk to many people in a vast variety of race and creeds, I meet someone addicted to Ambien everywhere I go. This is an epidemic in the U.S. right now. There are more DUI’s given for Ambien than Alcohol now. This is a notice for all of us that have been effected by this drug, given so freely by doctors, we need to ban together and have this drug taken off the market and be suplimented for our pain and suffering!

  6. Most families who lose loved ones through suicide or murder never get an answer to the haunting question, “Why?” I thought that would be the case with my brother’s suicide and the murder of his two children. If ever anything was senseless, it was this. Why would a loving husband and devoted father shoot and kill his children, then himself?

    Everyone who knew my brother was shocked that this had happened at his hand because Scott was a loving, generously giving, and super sensitive soul from the moment of his birth to the last day of his life at the age of 39. His core personality was consistent for four decades. Whether you knew him as a childhood friend or a current colleague, he would have been described in exactly the same way. He would give you his last dime. He would do anything for anyone. And, he loved his two sons, A.J. and Jake, more than life itself. He would have freely given his life to protect those boys. This was evident on his Facebook page, where he proudly posted photos and videos of his children and said the sweetest things about his wife. So, how could this deeply spiritual, devoted husband and father, who never exhibited any violent thoughts or behavior in his entire life, shoot himself and his children without any warning on some random Friday in the dark hours of the morning?

    I had to find an answer or at least spend the rest of my life trying.

    From informed sources, I learned that Scott had been acting out-of-character that day. It wasn’t anything that seemed threatening, but it was certainly bizarre. As the day progressed he became more agitated. His wife and in-laws tried to find out what was troubling him, but his explanations didn’t make any sense. Later that evening, when they were all sitting out on the front porch, Scott told them that he was going inside to take his medication. He had been prescribed pain medication and Zolpidem, also known as Ambien, as part of his post-double hip replacement surgery regimen. Then, just fifteen minutes after taking the medicines, he was over-the-top agitated and aggressive. His father-in-law said something like, “Well, let’s call it a night, and we’ll talk about it in the morning,” not really knowing what “it” was. No one could have imagined what would happen just three hours later.

    So, it seemed to me that the medication was the smoking gun. A police spokesperson even told reporters that they expected to find answers about the cause of this horrific murder-suicide after the toxicology reports came in.

    Not willing to sit idly by for six to eight weeks for the toxicology report, I googled “Ambien Side Effects,” and quickly found mention of it causing suicidal thoughts and actions. Then, I googled “Ambien and Suicide,” and page after page after page of documented cases of suicide, mostly from gunshot wounds, appeared before my eyes. I was gobsmacked. I had heard that Ambien caused sleepwalking, sleep-eating and even sleep-driving, but I had never heard that it could cause suicide.

    I immediately searched online for the package insert for Ambien. I was alarmed at what I read:

    “A variety of abnormal thinking and behavior changes have been reported to occur in association with the use of sedative/hypnotics. Some of these changes may be characterized by decreased inhibition (e.g. aggressiveness and extroversion that seemed out of character), similar to effects produced by alcohol and other CNS depressants. Visual and auditory hallucinations have been reported as well as behavioral changes such as bizarre behavior, agitation and depersonalization.”

    “Oh my God!” This is exactly how my brother’s behavior was described by the people who were with him that night. I, then, spent hours looking at a dozen or so websites, where people described the same behavior in their loved ones right before they committed suicide, although some exhibited no warning signs at all.

    One of the most well-known cases was the suicide of Hard Rock Hotel chief operating officer, Randy Kwasniewski, who shot himself in the head and died in 2010. It made news because of Kwasniewski’s high profile and the lawsuit that his widow and two daughters brought against the maker of the drug, Sanofi-Aventis. They claimed that Kwasniewski was unaware that “Ambien may produce suicidal thoughts, ideations, strange bizarre behaviors and actions.”

    Subsequently, Sanofi-Aventis has added this to the list of possible side effects. However, people still keep committing suicide. Why? Perhaps, physicians aren’t fully informed about these adverse drug reaction reports and, therefore, aren’t passing along the information to patients. Or, maybe, the drug company doesn’t want to widely broadcast this information because it will affect their Ambien sales. I don’t know. FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh recently said:

    “Regarding Ambien, more generally, in the past year we have asked the company for additional drug safety information as part of our ongoing assessment of the drug. We cannot speculate what may happen next, but we are actively reviewing all available safety information for this drug.”

    In the meantime, people are still committing suicide. Just from one website, I learned about the following cases (

    “My mom was happily married with 4 children and 4 beautiful grandkids that she adored and loved. My mother loaded a weapon; something that she would never have the nerves to do. She then took her life…”

    ‘. . .The upsetting part is he remembered things said in anger which hurt him, but he did not remember the circumstances surrounding it, which made him, I believe, even more sensitive and depressed. This drug is a hypnotic. When you are under the influence of it, it is as if whatever you are told is recorded on your brain and when you are sober from it the next day it stays with you and causes further depression. I saw this when he would repeat things I had said in frustration and anger, but he was perplexed at ‘how I could feel that way’. . . He committed suicide in January of this year. He shot himself. He would have never done this had he been himself. He loved life and was always such a positive person.”

    “Had a co-worker that was taking Ambien and he would tell other people how he would wake up and he would have food from the grocery store on his table. He once told another that he woke up with a gun in his mouth. I am not sure if he ever connected the dots but October 2009 he took his life by placing a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger.”

    “My brother began taking Ambien about 1 week ago. He told his girlfriend that it made him feel like he was “tripping.” This morning he put a gun in his mouth and now he is gone.”

    “. . .a loud noise woke me up. . .I laid there for a short while, listening to the shower run, thinking he dropped the shampoo or something. I laid there a little longer, and then realized it was about 4am, why would he be taking a shower at this hour? I went into the bathroom, where I found him in the bathtub. He had shot himself in the head. . .”

    “On May 16 2010, my youngest brother, he was 43 yrs old, passed away. My brother loved life, he had so many friends that at his funeral they were lined up outside. He left behind an 11 year old daughter and a 26 year old son. He also left behind a family who loved him dearly.

    “My brother had back surgery 18 months prior to his death, a surgery that did not go well and left him with constant pain. He did okay on Percocet but then began having trouble sleeping. His doctor prescribed Ambien for sleep. . .On the evening of his death he was not acting himself. He was with my two nephews having a couple beers, and out of nowhere my brother got real agitated and began calling one of my nephews names, something completely out of character for my brother. He then packed a small bag with clothes, shoes, shaving stuff, deodorant, and he was about ready to leave the house. He had been living with my mother since his surgery. She came home before my brother was able to leave, and she said he was acting in a way she had never seen. My brother and mother were extremely close, he watched out for her like a hawk. He pushed my mother aside and left the house. He was intoxicated when he drove off. My brother was what some would call a ‘functional alcoholic’ but alcohol alone never made him act in this way.
    My brother checked into a Casino, didn’t tell anyone where he was, but had been texting my older brother and my brother’s friend, texting things that didn’t make sense. My brother said things like “I’m drowning”, and when my older brother tried to convince him to meet him for a drink, my younger brother told him “it’s too late for that”? On the flip side he was texting a female friend of his, and seemed okay, but any texts with the family were negative. He had never been disrespectful to any of us, at least not irrate.He checked into the hotel early evening but didn’t check into his room till about 11p.m., and we know this because there was a security camera right outside his room. Nobody came or left once my brother went into his room for the night. He was found by a maid the next morning face down on the carpet, he was dead. . .In his system they found alcohol, which is no surprise. They also found a high level of Ambien and Klonopin. The medical examiner ruled his death as undetermined because it was not clear whether his death was intentional or accidental. My brother always said people who commit suicide are “cowards”. He had started school to better his life, he lived for his children, and would never leave my mother. He loved life, he was just a happy guy. In my opinion it was the Ambien that messed with his thinking, caused him to become irrational and agitated.”

    I could go on and on. There are 57 more stories just like these on the website. And, this is just one of the many websites that chronicle accounts of suicide by people who are taking Ambien.

    However, you may be thinking, “These stories are about suicide. Scott killed his children before committing suicide.” Well, there are websites for those stories, too. Here’s one, where a man strangled his wife and daughter before stabbing himself to death. He was taking Ambien:

    There is even a warning on the website about Ambien (

    “Ambien CR, like other sedating medications, can affect the central nervous system. Sleep-related behaviors such as driving, cleaning, sleepwalking, eating, shopping, and more serious behaviors like attempted murder and assault, have been reported to occur in people who have no memory of these nighttime behaviors. Both euphoria and depression have been reported.

    FRONTLINE also released their expose of one platoon of soldiers from Fort Carson who fought in Iraq ( They found that “Since the Iraq war began, a total of 18 soldiers from Fort Carson have been charged with or convicted of murder, manslaughter or attempted murder committed at home in the United States, and 36 have committed suicide.” Many of these crimes have been attributed to the drugs they are given in combat and when they return home, including Ambien.

    Like I said, I could go on and on. Information about the life-threatening side effects of Ambien is plentiful, credible, and easily accessible on the internet. The FDA clearly knows what is going on–they’ve spoken publicly about it. The drug maker clearly knows what is going on, too. And, they have covered their arses well. They have been involved in several wrongful death lawsuits and class action suits, and they always win because it can never be proven that Ambien was the sole cause of the suicides, murder/suicides, murders, or other serious crimes committed while under the influence of Ambien. Plus, the warning is right there in the super tiny print, way at the bottom of the package insert.

    I will never be able to bring a lawsuit against Sanofi-Aventis or the doctors that prescribed Ambien to my beloved brother in the hopes of getting this drug taken off the market. However, I can shout from the rooftops that Ambien is a very dangerous drug. Sanofi-Aventis has blood on their hands, including the murder of my brother and his two sons.

    I will not be quiet about this. As soon as the toxicology report proves what I am saying, I will tell anyone and everyone who will listen to my story. It has now become my mission to warn those who are taking Ambien to look into this for themselves; to talk to their family about it, so they can be on the lookout for any out-of-character behavior; and to talk with a trusted, dedicated, informed medical professional. It is clear that we cannot depend on the drug company or the FDA or physicians to be ethical or good stewards of our safety. We truly have to think for ourselves and be our best advocate.

    If this post can spare one innocent person or one family from the unbearable heartache we are experiencing, then Scott, A.J. and Jake Swanson will not have died in vain.

    Thank you for reading my post. Please pass this information along.

  7. Sherri..I too just lost my loved one because off Ambien. It is EVIL and I fully believe that this was the cause of your brother’s actions. I would like to do a documentary on the dangers of this horrible drug. People need to get out of denial about it. I too have done extensive research regarding ambien. My loss and pain can never be healed. I cry everyday and miss him so much. He took his life and left everyone devastated. He had been having previous blackouts from ambien. Please contact me if you wish… We need to do something about this injustice.

  8. I was arrested on July 26, 2011 for DUI, Leaving the sense of an accident, Assaulting a police officer & resisting arrest. My case went before a grand jury and now am facing 4 years in prison for something I have \No memory of doing\!! I am a responder to 9/11 at the world trade center and I started to have severed reaction to my involvement and 8 years ago I could not sleep so my doctor prescribes Ambien 10 mg. I started to sleep well at first then I started to do all types of crazy thing. I would call some associates at night and stay on the phone with them and say all types of crazy things. I would wake up the next morning and the person I was on the call with would ask me if I was alright because I was saying some strange things to them and I would say to them I don’t ever remember talking to them. Then I would start to eat whole jars of peanut butter. I started to binge eating and gain 20 lbs. before I was aware how I even did that because I always watch how I ate. Then things started to get progressively worst my wife and kids started to notice at night after I took the pill maybe 20 mins after I started to say weird thing and do weird things. There was many time they would become very scared because they said I look like I was possessed with the devil and look very evil and would say very evil thing. I would go out in the middle of the street and start to scream that I saw demons surrounding me and would lay in the middle of the street and just stare at some object for a long time. These thing went on for years and my wife many times went to my doctor and asked him to take me off the drug and he refuse to. So last year both of my parents died on the same day and then my mother in law died 6 months later and I was under a lot of stress because of all the losses I just went through and told my doctor that the Ambien was not working. So what does he do he prescribes me XANAX !! on top of the Ambien so what happen three days after that I get into my car sleeping walking and start to drive and a 1/4 mile from house I get into a car accident slam my head against the windshield and suffer a severe concussion and when I got out of my vehicle start walking aimlessly around I was approach by the police and what do they do they attack me and tackle me into a tree crushing my head and shoulder causing more injury to me. Because of when they tackle me the main cop that did the tackling me was hurt when he hit the tree and they claim that I cause them to fall saying I ran into them the cop that tackle me is 6’3 325 lbs and I am 5’4 150lbs there is no way I could of moved that man even at full force. So now I have 4 children and have to worry every day what is going to happen me and what would happen if they put me in jail. I would love to join this fight to get this drug off the market before more innocent people die or have their lives ruin forever if anyone would like to contact me please feel free.856-701-5151.

    Thanks for reading this.
    Geoffrey Petit

  9. This is amazing ! I too experienced bizarre behavior while taking Ambian a few years ago.I was given
    this medication following surgery. On several occasions I found myself in the bathroom but didn’t remember going in there. I went to a resort with a friend who had just lost her son so it was to be a
    few days of relaxing. During the first night my friend was asking me what I was doing. I looked around and found I was in the kitchen. Not wanting to feel stupid I told her I was cooking. She asked me what I was cooking and why. I told her I was hungry for bacon, sausage, hashbrowns and eggs. However, when
    I looked at the stove the only thing cooking was some bacon.Pans were on all the other burners, the burners were all on high but nothing was in them. Two nights later at her home she said it took me about 15 minutes to get in bed because I told her I had to climb the ladder and my legs were in a climbing
    motion. It was the next day I realized it was the sleeping pills causing this and quit taking them. More
    recently I have taken xanax along with pain pills to help me sleep. I woke up as I was falling off the
    toilet. I hit my head on the sink resulting in a rather large goose egg. Other than wrenching my back I
    seemed to be OK. Several nights later I took another xanax and the same thing happened. Except this time I hit my head so hard I had huge goose egg and twisted neck. Duh, I figured out it was the xanax.
    A few nights after that I woke up to find myself sitting up in bed next to my night stand. I always put my pills for the next day on the night stand. All the pills were spilled on the table and several were on the floor. I counted them all and fortunately I hadn’t taken any of them. I started putting a large bed pillow
    under the sink, closed the bathroom door, put a broom across the door and a chair in front of that
    thinking I would wake up in the process of getting through everything. My pills are now kept in my sisters bedroom in a spot hard to get at. That I know of there have not been anything happen. At the time of the Ambian incident I don’t recall any warnings of sleepwalking. In fact, their commercials on television didn’t mention it and everytime I saw their ad I would get mad that it wasn’t mentioned. I
    guess I was very lucky compared to the horrible things other people went through. So, the number of
    people experiencing problems is small compared to thousands of other people. Big deal, they shouldn’t be allowed to sell them. My lesson ? I read ALL the fine print when I am given anything new to take.
    I hope someone is successful in getting this drug off the market. Thankyou, Kathleen

  10. Yes…this drug is of the devil! I had been prescribed this and I could have died! I only took one and I was in the bed ready for sleep as I was told to do, but at some point during the night (although I don’t remember it), I apparently got up thinking I had not taken my Ambien and got up and I guess I took another one. I may have done this not one… but MULTIPLE TIMES! Needless to say, I missed work the next few days because I’d been freakin unconscious and practically unresponsive! Blessedly, my mother came over to check on me when she could not reach me by phone. My lips were already pale and my breathing was shallow. Mind you, I was NOT suicidal. I’d had the rx and had never had side fx previously (or at least I don’t think I had, but now who knows!). I knew I’d had plenty of my rx (cause I didn’t take it regularly) and when my mother came over, she discovered the bottle almost empty! I am just thankful that my mother came over! I have always had chronic insomnia and the only thing I DO remember is this FEELING that I was up and wondering why I was still not asleep (although in reality I probably was asleep and sleepwalking). Scary medication! Won’t ever take it again in a zillion years! Will just suffer with insomnia versus this, thank you kindly. Eventually, people will kill themselves or others on this horrific stuff. Back to the Sleepytime Tea and praying for sleep! I have decided that Big Pharma will kill you faster than any disease out there. The warnings are not emphasized near enough and it is touted as a super-drug for insomnia. For those of us desperate for sleep, it sounds like a God-send for our sleep-deprived bodies/minds. A terrifying trick–that’s what it is. I hope that someone is successful in getting this off the market.

  11. I just posted above after my own horrific Ambien experience, and I am not an attorney…. but there is a site (Google “Ambien Killings”) and it brings up several heartbreaking cases of this medication’s involvement in several deaths,, so if it can be proved that this medication is to blame for these, surely it won’t be long before Big Pharma will have to at least address the safety issues or put a Black Box Warning on it. What would help most, however, would be for consumers to stop requesting the damn stuff. That isn’t going to happen with addiction being such a powerful force. MD’s could step up to the plate and not prescribe it. Wow…what a novel idea! Accountability, responsibility, and looking after the best interest of the patient. But then who is going to pay for that Porsche if I am drinking Sleepytime Tea?

  12. I too had a horrible driving accident while on Ambien and NOTHING else. I woke up in jail and can not remember anything!!! I want to file a class action lawsuit. Please if anyone knows where I can get some advice, contact me. I have a court date too in a couple months where I may have to go to jail. Ambien has really damaged my life.

  13. I have also been experiencing bizarre eating and cooking foods after taken ambien. I switched to the CR and problem still exists. I asked my pharmacist has there been notification on product change… I was advised it was being manufactured in India… I have been on ambien for 8 years because of severe restless leg syndrome and have not had any problems until about 3-4 years ago…. I don’t know if they would admit a chemical make-up change or manufacturing change…

    Would they admit it?

  14. I have several health issues, Ambien is…was…one of the medications I took to help me sleep. I never drive after dark, am disabled; semi-crippled, got home from my classes at college…took my Ambien, a prescribed medication by my doctor….woke up at 2:00 in the morning, in jail…told I had hit a mail box, thank God that is all. Now have court issues due to that. I do not drink, have a limited mobility issue..only go to college, to church, to the store, library, bird watching. I do not remember leaving my house…had a vague memory of leaving my house, going to my car with my TV remote in my hand, which didn’t make sense to me, thought it was an aberration of memory…until my attorney on the traffic matter explained to me the affects of Ambien. I am now going to court for the matter, and it has cost me lots of money, lost my apartment, and so many other complications have occurred. My attorneys and others directed me to seek legal advice for the adverse side affect undoubtedly caused by the Ambien Thank you. Sincerely Kenneth Carson

  15. I have suffered insomnia since early childhood from PTSD, genetics, abuse, etc. I have anxiety that becomes so severe it keeps me awake for days. I also have chronic pain from injury & other health issues. I tried everything from being hypnotized, cognitive/behavioral therapy, acupuncture, supplements/vitamins, diet changes, chiropractor, massage, meditation, yoga, ocean waves background noise, until I was literally unable to get up bc I was so sleep deprived. I was tried on antidepressants, ssris, OTC meds, creams, reflexology, anti anxiety meds, PTSD meds, sleeping meds. I had no clue the hell on earth I was about to endure just to sleep! I had very little adverse reaction to Lunesta but it was not effective getting me to sleep at that time. So they wrote me for ambien ON TOP OF all these antidepressants, anti anxiety, etc meds. Was I forewarned to not operate machinery? Duh! That’s asking for it! But was I shown or warned of finally getting that sleep I prayed for only to wake up n a sober holding cell?! I took my meds as prescribed got in bed fell asleep. then apparently grabbed my boyfriend at the times keys bc he always left them on our nightstand. I slept walked slept drove and woke up n jail. They didn’t want to hear about my med list, after being held there for hours I was told, I came to and tried to explain anything but I didn’t even know what to say bc I was in shock! I don’t drive bc I don’t have a license so it was totally out of character bc I’m not stupid & I know the law & respect it. They said I was swerving and looked like I was not there as if my eyes were glazed over. I said I was going to borders which has never bn open at 3am!!! I had 3 big fast food bags from 3 DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS!!! It didn’t click bc I didn’t know of the effects others had suffered: sleep eating/driving/walking around etc. I did however ask them to cut my dose n half just to make sure. A month later after starting the new lower dose? Went to sleep, woke up n jail. They arrested me in front of my home, in my pajamas. I don’t recall any of it. Though I am grateful that they stopped me bc I could’ve hurt someone or myself sleep driving, so scary! I’m upset, more unable to sleep bc I’m broke from paying a fraudulent horrible lawyer who told them two DUI charges were understandable!!!!! They were never informed of my medication, my side, I am now in debt, I’m being treated like I just got in my car then took stuff being wreck less! They threw me in the category of a lying nobody who didn’t deserve atleast the chance to tell them ANYTHING. I’m required to go to alcohol classes which r 15 miles away, some r 5 minutes & they know none of us can drive so it’s extremely messed up bc no matter how hard u try to get it all done without dragging another person into it by asking for a ride or buying bus passes-I’m paying court fees yet I have no food can’t sleep and am going to alcohol meetings etc tho I’ve drank maybe 4x in my life & it was awful every time so I just choose not to. It’s unjust, it’s taking valuable time from my life, I can’t even b with my ailing Father or Grandmother for a year 1/2. I have 2duis on my record now & my life is like a prison. An already pain-ridden life, diminished into a waste of time waiting until they release me to go bk to my family! My heart breaks hearing the pain and worry in my Mother & Grabdmothers voices. We’re all helpless and justice was not served. I have something to offer society & I believe I have the right to start a life but I can’t even see that dream now. All I c is the nightmare before me. I want an appeal bc my lawyer was negligent and a fraud, but can I even do that now? Any advice would b much appreciated. I’m sorry all of u have been caused such pain too. May God keep you lifted up and strong. We must all fight to get thru this.

  16. Would like to be part of a class action law suit against the makers of the drug ambien.

  17. This mefication almost hot me killed

  18. i started taking ambien about 3 years ago… i would take a half or a full one and lay down… i reckon some time after that, i would get up and eat more pills, damn near a whole bottle. lucky i hadnt had a car at the time. but i would make food, get in fights with my roomates and wonder around outside. this went on for like 2 weeks before i relized what was going on… the real weird thing is after i found out i was doing this, i told the doctor and he said the best thing was for me to take the pill and lock the pills in my safe and then lay down… WTF… that shit is bad.

  19. why is this sleeping walking drug still on the market it should be banned, people are sleep walking doing things they would never do if they werent on this drug,my husband who is not a drinker, drank volka, a pint and a half with out even remembering, going to the store and purchasing it or drinking it he had taken his pill cause he wanted to sleep, then woke up went to sub shop and ordered 2 large subs and a pizza told them he would be back,went the packy bought a pint of strong vodka then went home forgetting to go to the sub shop to get the food he had ordered,came home drank the vodka, went back to the packy bought more vodka, then went home and drank a half of that bottle my son had come home and noticed he was sitting in the bedroom his eyes were rolling back in his head so my son called an ambulance, the police showed up first, my son had brought my husband to the porch first hoping the fresh air would help him. the police showed up first, they asked him questions he doesnt even remember he was arrested after the police dragged him off the the porch backwards by his throat throwing him on the ground continueing to stranggle him not stopping until my upstairs neighbor who was on the upstairs porch, said “hey thats not right, im reporting you,” then the other officer pulled his partners hands off his neck, my husband could have died on that sidewalk from being attack by the police officers for no reason they pushed my son out of the way when my son asked them why were they doing that to his father, the ambulance came when my husband was on the ground being held there and the police waved the ambilance off, his vitals were not checked my husband also has high blood pressure and a number of other illnesses, now the courts are saying he faces a two and ahalf year sentence for resisting arrest, this was all caused from ambien, if we had known all the side affects before he would never had taken this prescription, doctors are passing them out like candy, these pills are also being sold on the street, people are buying this drug for recreational drugs, to drink and smoke weed while on this pill without knowing the true side affects, have talked to alot of yung people and this is what i am told, his doctor gave him a four month supply. he wants in on theis class action suit against the makers of ambien nt for the money just for justice, before someone else has circumstances happen to them beyond their control

  20. My late husband was taking ambien when he committed suicide. This was ten years ago and at that time there was no mention( in the advertisements for the product) nor from the physicians about depression and suicide when using ambien. He was depressed but had seen a psychiatrist two days before he took his life. The doctor was quite surprised that this had happened as he had completed an evaluation and concluded that my husband was not at risk. I have long felt that medications played a role in his death and find it interesting that it has taken so long for the drug companies to warn of the danger. It is also interesting that ads for ambien no longer show on tv but a new” drug to take in the middle of the night is now being advertised. It is zolpidem-just like ambien. At least they are now warning people about the risk. Somehow I believe that the drug companies knew this all along but failed the make it publicly known to increase their bottom line.

  21. In Oct 2012 I ask doctor for a sleeping aid and received Ambien. $ nights later I went to bed 9:30pm on Sunday and woke up in jail. I was told my 2011 didge Challenger was totalled and I was in for a Dui. I do not remember any of this. I have spent $10,000 after my Jury trial on Aug 12th 2013 rolls around. If I lose it will be an additional 2500. I do not drink.
    1. $3500 to total my car
    2. $3500 Lawyer Fees
    3. $3000 Additional fees for Jury trial

    Some time during that same night I cleaned an entire Leather couch with an entire can of Saddle Soap. It had to take me two hours. I remember nothing.

  22. I just flushed all of my Ambien after waking up twice in three days with mysterious scrapes/wounds on my FACE. I’ll just take Nyquil. This drug scares me to death, more than any other legal or illegal I’ve ever interacted with. If you’re reading this, I urge you, get rid of it. There are things far worse than insomnia.


    These commentaries are noteworthy. As my colleague, William Head noted, Ambien cases are becoming more common. We are commonly seeing people in my office in Wisconsin who take their Ambien, go immediately to bed, and then wake up miles away, half naked and under arrest for DUI. We have fought and won these cases; but the real problem is that police officers are inadequately trained in recognizing the signs of this very dangerous medication.

  24. This drug has ruined My life. While taking ambian I apparently Have been touching our oldest daughter inappropriately. now facing life in prison

  25. This drug has ruined my life. I’m in on any lawsuit.

  26. My doctor prescribed 20 milligrams daily for a year before i found out that this is double the recommended dosage. It caused me severe and debilitating anxiety, dementia, and grave mental disability.My recoil insomnia, now that I quit the Ambien because of two suicide attempts, leaves me unable to sleep at all without medication. Ambien and the doctor who over-prescribed it ruined my brain and my life.

  27. My family and I suffered from me taking. Ambien. It is a nightmare..I beat my husband up I don’t even remember it. I’m not that kinda person either.. I would never do that. Told the Dr. about sleep walking he told me to tie myself in bed .. I’m at my wit’s end with this medicine ..

  28. I was on ambien would drive my daughter to school and not remember how I got her there or back. Blacked out on my now estranged husband. Got locked up and don’t remember shit. Help I need a lawyer. 215-668-0387

  29. My son is serving a 20 year prison sentence because of the results of Ambien. He doesn’t remember committing any crime & before this was a successful Architect, father of 2 beautiful daughters & never had a spotless record, with not even traffic citations. PLEASE, if there is anyone that can help, contact me

  30. Ambien and Trazodone was prescribed for my brother, who jumped to his death. The doctors who prescribe should be held accountable and the drug company. How much longer can they escape responsibility? The suicides, murders, and car accidents as result of hypnotic drugs given to servicemen are growing and can no longer be ignored. Google ambien(zolpidem tartrate), hypnotic drugs, suicide, murders and the U.S. military.

  31. My husband has been taking Ambien for over 10 years. He often doubles or triples his dose of 10mg and it is usually then that I witness distinct behavioral changes. He becomes aggressive (usually sexually). Although he has yet to hit me, its come very close. He eats until he passes out – just keeps getting up and snacking from the fridge, making a mess. Sometimes cooking things. Last night he had just taken his pill(s) and told me a whole story of something that happened at work that day. Then 15 minutes later he launched into the exact same story. When I told him he had just told me this, he kept talking anyways. I interrupted again and just stared at me when I said, again, that we had just finished discussing this. Five minutes later he passed out.

    Has anyone had success with calling their spouses doctor and letting them know about these side affects? I’m worried about the long term brain damage. Also, I worry that this could be causing his increased anxiety and need to now be on Effexor. But I also wonder if its too late – if he stops taking it will he be able to sleep at all? We have no intimacy or sex life anymore due mainly to this addiction. It could end our marriage.

  32. I am going to court, supposed to plead Guilty to DUI for being stopped the day After taking 1 Ambient,10mg. The night before. My Attny, Mike PENKOEWITZ, Port Washing5on, Wisc. Has advised me to “Cop a Plea” of Guilty, to DUI. And the DA will “Reccomend” 8 Months in Jail!! This is a NIGHTMARE !! After seeing this site, I am Going to Change my Plea to Not Guilty, by reason of Temporary Insanity, or by Reason of Mental Disease, or Defect. Please Advise me!!! I go to Court Mon.,Feb.9th, At 1pm CST. HELP!!! Lauren.Lusty. (262)225-2482. Or my husbands email … him.. PLEASE HELP !! even if you can o ly direct me to a Class Action, that j may join . I am working on my MBA, and a co fiction on this would ruin my life.

  33. In October, I was caring for my mother who is suffering from progressive dementia at her house. I spent the day with her, and she decided she wanted to go to bed at 1900. I got her tucked in and on her CPAP, but she kept getting up every 10 minutes to check on me as I watched TV on her couch. Finally, I took my usual 10mg of Ambien and told her I was going to sleep on her couch, then go to work in the morning. The next thing I know, I am in the county jail being processed. Apparently (according to my mother) I got up, made a meal, drank some red wine (which I hate), then got in my car to go home, (about 8 miles away) at about 2000.
    I have no recollection of the meal, the wine, getting into the car, crashing into a ditch, being pulled out, the arrest, and the vast majority of the booking. Apparently I wasn’t LEGALLY drunk at the scene (my BAL was under 0.8) but I was clearly under the influence. As the article said, I was a zombie, and the arresting officer (in the arrest report) said I was in a stupor and was looking right through him/her. 3 months later, I find I am being charged with DUI and a BAL of <0.8 within 2 hours of arrest. I am 52 years old, never had even a speeding ticket, teach Sunday school, ring hand bells and coach Little League, and now am facing a DUI conviction.

  34. I had complained about my memory. I had noticed I couldn’t remember anything like within seconds of wanting to tell someone something. I also have been stumbling and have a hard time getting my words out. I finally talked them in giving me an MRI. I just went to get the results and found out I have a large portion of my brain gone. It has just shrunk up to nothing. There is nothing that can be done for me now. The part of the brain gone is the part that controls all our motor skills. I have no idea what will happen in the future…will I lose all my ability to walk, talk, just land up being a vegetable what??? I have been taking this pill for at least 25+ years. I also take a pill and a half due to not being able to sleep with my Fibromyalgia. They need to get this pill OFF the market. I guess they don’t care what we all go through due to all the money they pull in.

  35. I served eight and a half years in prison for attempted murder of my now ex-husband. Never had any trouble prior to this. I am 72 years old. Ex-husband made a full recovery.

  36. Has anybody had experience or heard of ambien causing false positives for benzodiaepine in urine tests? If so where can I get this information? Help please,

  37. Sharry Fivecoats

    I was prescribed ambien last week when I went to the Dr and complained of not being able to get any sleep.they prescribed me ambien 5mg. I had it filled that day and took it for the first time that night at about 10pm. I remember falling asleep in my bed shortly after that. The next thing I knew I was falling down my front set of steps. Hitting my face and chest at the very bottom on a keystone rock that we have surrounding our yard.. I was bleeding everywhere and I was taken to the er with a broken jaw in 4 different places with many other injuries. We have survalance cameras outside our home so my husband later watched them and said I was standing at the top of the step and it looked like I had just fallen asleep. I was knocked out for about 3 minutes before even moving..I just wonder if I can sue the makers of ambien ??

  38. I was prescribed Ambien last year and noticed how hungary I was. I would eat before going to sleep. I went to bed on Dec 4th and came to myself the 7th of Dec. I was severly injured. I found a large pile of blood in front of the fridge where I must have gotten up to eat. I couldn’t see very well and my wrist was broken. I had a large bump on my head. I called an ambulance and at Erlanger Hospital I told them what I remembered which wasn’t much. After the mri on my head was told I had a large brain mass. I knew I had no brain mass becase my head had been fine until the friday before. After the brain surgery I was told I had a brain bleed. They had to stop the surgery for 45 minutes when I almost bleed to death. I have some brain damage and light seizure activity. This is for sure because of the ambien. It must be taken off the market. I need an attorney to file suit for me. Since all the class action suites no one else wants to take my case. Yet.

    I am 59 and this happened Dec 4th, 2015. Please help me find an attorney willing to take my case.
    Nancy Collins

  39. Shirley Killebrew

    if anyone gets a law suit going, please let me know, I too am having trouble getting someone to represent my husband in an Ambian suit. Why???? This drug is ruining peoples minds, my husband is in Alzheimer (nothing before this episode) early stage. No problems till episode put him out of his mind and he was violent, fighting, and remembers nothing. Than same week, caint remember anything. Even how to tie a shoe!!!

  40. I overdosed twice in one week and almost died of the second one. I stopped taking Ambien and have never done it again. Ambien is dangerous!!!!

  41. I suffered a severe head injury while sleepeating from ambien.

  42. Carol Ann Bordner

    I would like to be part of a class action suit. I served eight and a half years in prison for hallucinating on ambien and hurting my husband who made a full recovery and was given our almost-paid for home. I live in New Jersey.

  43. I took Ambien and it ruined my life. I would sleep walk and even sleep drive but never hit anyone thank God. I spent 3 different nights in the ICU. The bottle says to take ambien at bed time. That’s when I would take it but I’d get up and sleep walk and not even remember doing anything. I done really crazy things at home and at the hospital. I stripped all of my clothes off at the emergency room. Don’t remember any of it. I can’t even raise my head in the small town I live in I’m so totally embarrassed of doing things that are nothing like me.

  44. I too have an accent well sleep driving. I took my medicine Ambien and Xanax as prescribed by doctor at 10 at night went to bed. 6 in the morning, I had nowhere to go and I never make a morning appointment for anything because of my sleeping habits. But I crashed my Lexus head-on into a tree at the end of my street. I am a 100%disabled veteran with a disabled veteran license plate on my car. I have a very hard time walking. When the police came to the same they made me go through the typical DUI test or they make you walk a straight line or stand on one foot. I have a hard time to begin with plus I broke my foot during the accident. I also injured my neck but they insisted on me going through their DUI drill. I am being charged with OVI toxicology came back with no alcohol and only my prescribed medication. I am due for Court and can only hope that all factors are taking into this case. Everything I’ve read above me is a nightmare. This has been a nightmare so far and hope it doesn’t get any worse

  45. Hi am happy today my only son is out of jail with the work of dr samura i cannot thank him enough for the good work he have done into my life i will always talk about him anytime i contacted dr samura with his contact phone number i found on the internet at the first time i never believe it’s going to work out when i explain to him, he said okay and the work began after 3 days i got a call from the police telling me to come to the station to my greatest surprise, i saw my son coming out telling me mom am free then i remember what dr samura told me that his spell work is powerful now am happy with my only son i have no husband he is my husband as well all thanks goes to dr samura in-case you are in such pain contact him on +2348103508204 whatsapp or email

  46. Hi..YES! I too have my Ambien nightmare. I mean you go to a doctor expecting help for insomnia and instead you get a DWI.along w all the embarassment and fines. I didn’t think such a dangerous drug could be legal..could it? ABSOLUTELY! It can..and it is and NO ONE warned me!,This is wrong and I am pissed. Anyone w info. concerning a class action or other related information please call (505) 412-8205. David thanks Horrified Ambien Fool.

  47. Can someone please call me with a lawyers name and number i am also one that has done the above plus MEMORY LOSS BAD………the once normal things i have trouble remembering things………my name is Tina Trotter 903-494-1289 Please someone call me

  48. I was sentenced to one year in Janesville penitentiary for driv in my under the influence of ambian. I had no intmention of going out. I filled my tub with bath water then took an Zambian and don’t remember leaving and why. I would like them to take this drug off the market. Its dangerous. I would like to be compincated for my pain and suffering. I turned 64 the day I was released. Any helpful info would be much appreciated.thanks. Brian Cavanaugh

  49. I am relieved to see I am not crazy and there are others in my same predicament, however, I am also horrified to see there have been so many affect lives because of a sleeping medication that is still on the market. I to am a victim of Ambien. I have been on the drug for 2 years and I have almost lost everything in my life because of the drug. My family thinks I’m crazy because of my mood changes, on the verge of a divorce, sleepwalk, sleep eat, sleep drive. I almost committed suicide 2 nights ago. I feel like I didn’t because I had god pulling me back. I am so scared and feel like I am losing my mind right now. Why did this happen to all of us, why is this drug still on the market, why???? I want to file a lawsuit as well or join in on a lawsuit, I feel the power will come in numbers. Lives need to be saved. God be with us all.

  50. I used to take Ambien for about a year in 2011 during a stressful time in my life, job related. I didn’t seem to have any issues with it then. I have been terribly sick with the flu for over a week now and just wanted to sleep it off some more, so I asked my wife for one of her 10mg Ambien (she still has script for it). I hadn’t taken one since 2011, and oh my. I didn’t do anything scary as most of the posts on here, thank God, but I was straight up unconscious unable to actually wake myself up and had nonstop horrific night terrors. I would think I had woken up, but I just had waken to yet another horrific extremely vivid nightmare over and over again. It was like living through the entire Nightmare on Elm Street catalog. I have never had such vivid straight up evil night terrors like this before, and unable to wake from them. I finally cried out “God, PLEASE wake me up” as loud as I could and then I finally actually barely woke up and now I am scared to go back to sleep again until it has completely worn off. I have been actually drinking coffee since 3am, until I am positive that this has worn off completely. I did not drank or mix it with anything else. I will never touch one of these pills ever again. Many of these stories really scare me, and I believe them. I think I will just stick to benedryl.

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