WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Food and Drug Administration has a warning for women taking Ambien: the recommended dose of the drug has been lowered from 10 milligrams to 5.
The recommendation followed a study by the FDA that showed some women who took Ambien at night were waking up drowsy in the morning.
"In a driving simulation, about 10 percent of female patients that took the 10 milligram dose were impaired," said Dr. Josh Ramseyer, head of Legacy Good Samaritan's Sleep Center.
Ramseyer said waking up drowsy is an unacceptable side effect, no matter what sleep medicine patients are taking, or in some cases, not taking.
"The number one cause of drowsy driving and driving accidents is sleep deprivation," said Ramseyer. "Sometimes that's not related to medicines at all."
In other cases, patients like Catherine Clark experienced side effects while they were sleeping.
"I was taking 10 milligrams and it worked beautifully," she said. "But then one day my son said, 'mom, you sent me the strangest text.'"
Turns out Clark was "sleep texting." She sent incoherent text messages about twice a week for six months.
"It became this ongoing joke around my friends that I Ambien texted," said Clark.
Clark went back to her doctor who reduced her Ambien dose from 10 milligrams to five. Since adjusting her prescription, Clark said she’s been sleeping soundly.
"I certainly didn't feel like it was something I wanted to toy with," she said.
As always, make sure to check with your doctor before adjusting any medication dosage.