ARE SLEEPING PILLS SAFE?
Sometimes it's hard to drift off to sleep, and you might be tempted to take a sleeping pill-- but is it safe?
Back in April the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated black-box warnings-- which the agency uses to "call attention to serious or life-threatening risks"-- on three sedative-hypnotic sleep aids: eszopiclone (often sold under the brand name Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien). These drugs are used to prompt or maintain sleep, and the FDA says they have been connected to 20 reported deaths and 46 non-fatal but serious injuries.
Side effects of sleeping pills vary, but can be serious, and in 2013 the FDA recommended lower bedtime doses of zolpidem in an effort to cut down on issues like next-morning drowsiness.
Also, sleeping pills may be habit-forming, but ultimately it is possible to take them responsibly. You should learn possible side effects before taking any sleep medications, and you should also not mix alcohol with sleep drugs, and only take them before a full night of sleep to reduce the risk of side effects and dangerous behavior.