It’s possible. While few drivers would even consider getting behind the wheel after taking a sleeping pull, many do not consider the effects the pill could have when they drive to work the next day. A sleeping pill at 7:00 p.m. could easily cause a car accident during an 8:00 a.m. commute along 635—especially if the aftereffects include grogginess or blurry vision.
In fact, the FDA has recently lowered starting doses of popular sleep aids because of the effects on driver impairment the following morning. The administration received a report that found that Lunesta—one of the most widely-prescribed sleep aids in the U.S.—was shown to make users more prone to have problems driving, performing memory functions, and having trouble with coordination up to 11 hours after taking the drug.
Drivers Who Take on Sleeping Pills Are Often Unaware That They Are Impaired
One of the most worrying issues uncovered in the study was that patients who take sleeping pills are not aware that they are still drowsy the morning after. The problems associated with next-day drowsiness and driving impairment were also addressed last year, when the FDA reduced the dosage of another leading sleep-aid, Ambien. Patients were then warned about using Ambien and other generic insomnia drugs containing zolpidem, as their driving may be affected without their knowledge.
Although the minimum dosage of Lunesta will be lowered from two milligrams to one milligram following the FDA study, patients may increase their dosage up to three milligrams—the higher the dose, the more likely that the patient will suffer next-day impairment.
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