The dangerous sleeping drug that not only Elon Musk relies on

The pills that Elon Musk takes to fall asleep pack a punch. “Often it’s a choice between no sleep and Ambien,” the Tesla boss said in a memorable interview with the New York Times. An honest announcement that not only shook the stock market price – it should also worry the Tesla supervisory board.

The strong sleeping pill Ambien (Zolpidem) can be addictive. It has been made famous by a number of famous film and sports stars whose pill abuse has become public knowledge. Pharmacologist and researcher David Juurlink told the Financial Times that the drug is over-prescribed in the United States because of the dangers.

The drug is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi, which had a turnover of 320 million US dollars in 2017. It contains the sedative Zolpidem, which helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. In US, tablets with the active ingredient are sold under the name Ambien.

Like all powerful drugs, Ambien (Zolpidem) can cause side effects. For example, some patients wake up in the middle of the night without being fully awake and do things they later do not remember. As the package insert states, this can include “driving a car, preparing and eating food, using the phone, and having sex.”

Charlie Sheen: “It’s the devil’s aspirin!”

In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearly advises against driving the day after consuming Ambien. Patients should generally refrain from activities that require “complete mental alertness.” The drug can still affect you even though you feel fully awake. If you have less than seven to eight hours of sleep, you should not take the drug at all.

The agency also urged manufacturers to reduce the recommended dose to just about half. This amount is also effective for most people.

Despite the criticism, taking it among celebrities is socially acceptable. Actor Sean Penn joked during an appearance on the “Late Night Show” that he still has Ambien in his blood. Presenter Stephen Colbert spoke of the “Ambien Train” and wondered if he could squeeze any vigor out of Penn at all. Rapper Jay-Z dedicates a line to the drug in his song “Empire State of Mind”. And actress Roseanne Barr recently even tried to excuse a racist tweet with the use of Ambien.

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