We, the undersigned, call upon the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to ban immediately zolpidem, zopiclone and all other non-benzodiazepine hypnotics for the treatment of insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. Zolpidem is one of the most frequently-prescribed hypnosedatives in the world. In Australia alone in 2006, approximately 1.2 million boxes of Stilnox (the most popular brand of sleeping tablets containing zolpidem) were dispensed, making it the second most commonly-prescribed sleeping tablet in the country. However, emerging post-marketing evidence suggests that Stilnox and other so-called \'z drugs\' (which also includes zopiclone and zaleplon) are associated with a range of neurological and psychiatric effects, including sleep walking, sleep driving, sleep eating and sleep sex. Other commonly reported side effects include hallucinations, nightmares, daytime drowsiness and fogginess, serious short-term memory loss, severe depression, weight loss, fatigue, loss of concentration, nervousness, confusion, anxiety and panic attacks, altered personality, loss of sexual inhibitions, paranoia, delusions, loss of rational thought, blackouts, amnesia, de-personalisation, addiction, self-mutilation, psychotic episodes and criminal behaviour. There have also been a significant number of reports in Australia and overseas of patients experiencing strong suicidal ideation, as well as several reports of attempted suicides, accidents occasioning death and completed \'suicides\'. Many of these side effects have the potential to impact not just on the individual taking the drug/s, but on other members of the public as well - particularly in the case of adverse reactions such as sleep driving. It has been reported that Stilnox is also commonly used as a recreational drug, with users taking it for its hallucinogenic and mind-altering effects. Additionally, recent reports that zolpidem has been successful in waking patients from long-term comas must surely alert the TGA to the fact that zolpidem is no ordinary sleep medication. Clearly, the potential side effects of zolpidem and zopiclone far outweigh the purported benefits, particularly when there are suitable alternatives on the market in the form of benzodiazapenes, and when there are many other remedies and therapies available to the general public for the treatment of insomnia. While the manufacturers of Stilnox and related drugs have been able to classify many of the serious side effects that presented themselves in clinical trials under the deceptively innocuous term \'complex sleep-related behaviour\', several other side effects that members of the public have reported experiencing could only ever be reported through anecdotal evidence, as it would obviously be highly unethical and dangerous to replicate such situations in a controlled clinical trial. Therefore, we believe that the TGA must start to take seriously the thousands of reports that have been made of the dangerous, and sometimes fatal reactions to these drugs. Both zolpidem and zopiclone have been listed on the WHO Drugs Schedule 5 Drugs of Dependence and Abuse since 2002. Unfortunately, as Australian doctors have not been alerted to this fact, these drugs are far more readily prescribed in Australia than in the UK, Europe and Canada. We strongly believe that the recent attempts by the TGA to increase warnings about the potential dangers of these drugs do not go far enough in alerting the general public to the serious and potentially devastating side effects these drugs can cause, nor do they fulfil the TGA\'s mandate for \'ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines in Australia\'. We urge the TGA to act according to its mandate to protect the Australian general public by immediately banning zolpidem, zopiclone and other non-benzodiazepine hypnotics for the treatment of insomnia and other sleep-related disorders.
My son sleep-walked a few times when he was quite young, about 10, he is now 27. 4 nights ago he woke us with bizarre behavior, he was trying to climb out a closed window in the dark, and when disturbed was talking as though awake and yet also was in a trance-like state of unreality. I naturally reasoned that the episode was him sleepwalking, itself a major concern for his safety.
This evening he has again been somnambulent however, this time in his hallucinating, delusional and extremely poor motor-skill and unbalanced state, revealed the he had taken Stinox.
there is no doubt that he will not remember the events of this evening and thus be totaly unaware of his behaviours as he was nights ago.
Fortunately we were able to stop him leaving the house 4 times and to monitor his wellbeing.
He appeared to be awake and in control to those who do not know him well, like the house-guest who has been here for over a week.
Had he been out in public and near extreme danger, no bystander would have understood his imminent danger.
It is only by researching this drug myself that I now know any of the associated dangerous side effects of this drug, even including the severe hour and a half long bout of the hiccups that he had while sleeping following the last episode.
The labeling of this product is pathetic.
My wife and I had no idea that he was even using zolpidem.
Lo behold the poor user that has nobody to notice when they are suffering the side-effects of this drug and are on their way to serious harm.
This drug should only be used on patients who are under 24hour medical supervision if at all.
I was put on Stilnox in 2003 and I had the most horrendous effects with the worse being sleep walking type symptoms - being in places in the middle of the night. I became a recluse and believe that my depression was 80 per cent worse after taking Stilnox. I eventually took myself off them as the doctor was not keen to. Doing that saved my life. BAN STILNOX.
i am very careful about prescription drugs i take..i take endone for chronic back pain and it helps me sleep and the dosage hasnt risen in three months to have the same effects if used properly and respected..i was on Tramal ..and found it to have very similar symptoms to stilnox...Different people react to different drugs diifferently..Although in this case it seems stilnox effects a lot of people in a negative way...Ban it.
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