Are you using a prescription sleep aid to battle insomnia? If you're taking a drug containing zolpidem, check your dosage—the FDA has lowered the recommended doses for the drug because it can decrease mental alertness the morning after use, which can adversely affect activities like driving.

Women are more susceptible to the drug's morning-after effects because they tend to retain higher levels of it in their blood the next day than men do. The FDA is telling manufacturers of Ambien, Edluar, Zolpimist and their generic versions to cut their recommended dosages in half for women, from 10 mg to 5 mg, to prevent a.m. drowsiness.

Ambien CR, the extended-release version, must be cut to 6.25 mg. The FDA is also suggesting that doctors prescribe the lower dosages for men, too. They point out that people who take the drug can feel wide awake the next morning but still be impaired.

Source: FDA Medwatch Alert, 1/10/13; Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 31 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 31 Jul 2013