Ambien's Strange Side Effects

Insomnia, Lack of sleep, Figure sits on bed, drawing AP / CBS

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
I know I shouldn't make fun of this, but the accusations about the side effects of Ambien are pretty amazing.

Several people are suing the drug's maker because they claim that while under its influence, they go on eating binges while still asleep.

I saw pictures of a guy who climbed out of bed, walked to his fridge and started chowing down — and when asked about it later, claimed not to remember it.

Now in my personal battle of the bulge, I would think that would be of some comfort. One of my biggest problems with overeating is the guilt I feel along with the pleasure. Ambien absolves you of the guilt because you don't remember pigging out. Isn't that a plus?

Traces of Ambien have also been popping up in drivers who get in accidents and don't remember taking the wheel.

Look, Ambien has been on the market for more than a decade. Last year alone, more than 25 million prescriptions were written for the stuff. Do the math: That's a lot of pills, and a lot of people, and some of them are going to be doing weird things, pills or not.


Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

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