After Rosanne’s tweets today, a lot of people have, predictably, been sending me messages asking if it is ok to take Ambien.
I want to start by saying that the comments made by Rosanne Barr, comedienne or not, were flat out disgusting.
But that is not what I am here to talk to you about.
I want to talk about the example that was put forward recently by this “Tweet”. Today Mrs. Barr released a statement saying that she was “ under the influence of Ambien” and could not be held responsible for her tweet. To be very clear, Ambien is a serious but SAFE medication.
If you’ve been reading a while, you know I want to help everyone sleep better and that pharmaceuticals are not my favorite, but 95% of my patients show up using them when we first meet. These are medications that have been available for 20 years and are good drugs, generally, if taken as prescribed by your doctor, and are not mixed with Alcohol, etc. But when you look at the actual effects of Ambien on a person’s emotional state, mood, etc here is what we know. These medications reduce a person’s inhibitions. Just like alcohol, a person might say or do something that they normally may want to do, or say but do not. In this case, while I am not her doctor, and have not seen her chart, and I am not an MD, I can say with full confidence “The Ambien did not make her do it.” In 19 years of practice, I have not ever seen anyone on these medications say or do something that would change the way they think about an issue, especially something as charged as racism, while also having the foresight to pick comparative pictures to include with her statements. While I am not an investigative reporter, I am aware that Mrs. Barr has made comments about many different types of people, religious groups, and others, so these were very likely feelings she has already expressed elsewhere.
Ambien does have some side effects that may impact a small subset of the population, as do most drugs.
If you have been prescribed Ambien by a competent physician and are not experiencing issues, there is no reason not to continue and if you do experience any side effects, then, of course, you should contact your physician.
Rosanne has since removed her references to Ambien, my guess in a preemptive move to avoid a lawyer letter.
My commitment to finding safe, natural alternatives to big pharma sleeping pills continues and as new evidence of efficacy of different natural substances emerges, I’ll share them with you first. In the meantime, drink a little tea for the l-theanine, you can read my article here about why it helps you sleep.
Wishing you a wonderful week of healthy sleep!
Michael Breus Ph.D – The Sleep Doctor