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November 12, 2018

Ambien may disinhibit but it doesn’t put ideas into heads

May 30, 2018
Ambien could have caused Roseanne Barr to say something that she might not have said had she not not taken the Ambien. (Jordan Strauss/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Ambien the widest used sleeping pill in the U.S. Most people take it with beneficial effects — and have no adverse reactions from the medication.

However, there are well-documented reports of patients who have untoward adverse effects called “complex sleep behaviors.”




Some of these behaviors involve activity in a partially conscious state in which people do and say abnormal things.

They can eat in the middle of the night. They can drive or go outside and not be aware of it — or have an impaired recollection of the abnormal behavior.

It is possible that someone would say something in the middle of the night after taking Ambien they’d otherwise not say when they’re fully awake in the daytime.

Ambien works on the most widely found inhibitory brain system, which affects cognitive and executive functions. This medication could cause disinhibition of retained thoughts and ideas.
Ambien works on the most widely found inhibitory brain system, which affects cognitive and executive functions. This medication could cause disinhibition of retained thoughts and ideas. (smartstock/Getty Images)

Ambien works on the most widely found inhibitory brain system, which affects cognitive and executive functions. This medication could cause disinhibition of retained thoughts and ideas.

As such, it could have caused Roseanne Barr to say something that she might not have said had she not not taken the Ambien.

However, clearly, Ambien didn’t put those thoughts and ideas into her brain.

Michael Thorpy, M.D., is director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.




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