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Jul-24-2009 02:00printcomments

AMBIEN CR: the Worst, Most Inappropriate Advertising on TV

"Depression: Worsening of depression or, suicidal thinking may occur. Prescribe the least amount feasible to avoid intentional overdose" - AAMBIEN CR's manufacturers.


(SALEM, Ore.) - The federal government has spent billions of dollars of your tax money in recent years in an effort to "eradicate" the natural cannabis, or marijuana plant. They lie, partly out of ignorance, partly out of stupidity, about how "dangerous" this natural substance is.

But that same federal government is willing to clear things like AMBIEN CR (Zolpidem Tartrate), which is extremely dangerous for Americans on several levels. 10% of all adults who even try it have adverse reactions and almost seven and a half percent experience hallucinations.

But that's all just fine with the FDA.

The drug manufacturer, Sanofi-avetis in Bridgewater New Jersey, says AMBIEN CR is not a narcotic, but they are using a semantic technicality.

In the U.S. legal context, the term "narcotic" specifically refers to opium, opium derivatives, and their semi-synthetic or fully synthetic substitutes as well as cocaine and coca leaves.

But Websters states that the Middle English word narkotik means to benumb, and also uses the word "numbness" to define narcotic. In other words, it makes a person go to sleep - like sleeping pills, like AMBIEN CR. The second definition is "something that soothes, relieves, or lulls." Same thing.

But that's nothing, this is an extremely dangerous drug BY THE COMPANY'S OWN ADMISSIONS on its Webpage. I have been hoping to catch what we viewed as the absolute worst example of a dangerous deadly drug being peddled legally under the FDA.

Thomas Moore, a senior fellow in health policy at the George Washington University Medical Center, and author of "Prescription for Disaster: The Hidden Dangers in Your Medicine Cabinet" wrote:

"The problem begins at the FDA, and the priorities imposed by limited budget and congressional mandates. For years, the chief complaint was that the FDA was too slow to approve new drugs. When given additional funds collected from drug companies, the FDA responded impressively."

VIOXX proved to be a recent death causing drug that the FDA approved. It became a class action lawsuit that our tax dollars inevitably paid for. Phen phen diet pills are another small example of many very unsafe drugs that were approved by the FDA in recent years, all while the extremely helpful marijuana plant was elevated in crime status to being as bad in the federal view as meth or heroin.

Thomas Moore also wrote, "The FDA has more than 1,500 full-time employees with duties mainly related to evaluating new drugs. However, a full-time staff of just 54 is responsible for monitoring the safety of the 5,000 prescription and over-the-counter drugs already on the market. There are more full-time federal employees in the U.S. Naval Academy laundry (a total of 107), than assigned to monitor the risks of drugs taken by millions of consumers."

It is just a fact that prescription drug addiction increased incrementally with the appearance of pharmaceutical ads on television - placed in front of the American public instead of being marketed to doctors and hospitals, as is appropriate.

Like anything in life, just follow the money trail, and know that the ridiculous level of self-prescription taking place in this country, along with the off the charts TV advertising, is something that never used to be allowed.

I can't be the only one out here who is completely blown away by the absurdity of what the FDA and FCC are allowing. Let's review the list of official warnings that AMBIEN CR involves:

"If you notice any unusual and/or disturbing thoughts or behavior during treatment with AMBIEN CR or any other sleep aid medicine, contact your doctor."

"When you first start taking AMBIEN CR or any other sleep medicine, until you know whether the medicine will still have some carryover effect in you the next day, use extreme care while doing anything that requires complete alertness, such as driving a car, operating machinery, or piloting an aircraft."

Isn't that interesting... they only warn people to not get hammered on this stuff and fly airplanes when you first start taking AMBIEN CR.

"Severe anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions: Angioedema and anaphylaxis have been reported. Do not rechallenge if such reactions occur."

"Abnormal thinking, behavioral changes, complex behaviors: May include 'sleep-driving' and hallucinations. Immediately evaluate any new onset behavioral changes."

"Depression: Worsening of depression or, suicidal thinking may occur. Prescribe the least amount feasible to avoid intentional overdose."

"Withdrawal effects: Symptoms may occur with rapid dose reduction or discontinuation."

"Use with alcohol causes additive psychomotor impairment."

When it comes to pregnancy, this drug reportedly crosses the placenta. AMBIEN CR's manufacturers admit they have conducted, "No studies in pregnant women."

They admit that the drug causes dependency.

7.4% of the people who take it experience Hallucinations and other psychiatric and/or nervous system adverse reactions were observed frequently in a study of pediatric patients with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. writer Dr. Phil Leveque, who is among other things a Professor or Pharmacology, says that because the parent ingredient of AMBIEN, Zolpidem, is not a product that stems from opium, it is technically not a narcotic. But it is all just a choice of words and this stuff can do a real number on you if you aren't careful.

Leveque says in 1961 and again in 1971, the nation saw outcries over drug addiction problems stemming from Zolpidem-based drugs. "There was a barrage of articles about dependence and severe addiction," he said.

Doc Leveque says a person can begin with 2 1/2 milligrams when they first start taking Zolpidem, and work their way up to 30 milligrams in one year in order to achieve the same effect.

The problems result in possibly hundreds of thousands of Americans; good people misled by the TV ads instructing them to "ask their doctor about AMBIEN CR", driving on our roads in the morning commute with foggy brains. Airline pilots could be strapping themselves into the seats of their jumbo jets while still buzzed on this "legal" drug.

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address:

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worst article January 11, 2012 1:40 pm (Pacific time)

I've been taking ambien for 7 years now, never had a side effect. And over the holiday, i decided not to take it for a week, and it was no problem, but if u think it doesnt work, you have never taken it.

Lady November 19, 2009 8:08 am (Pacific time)

To each their own. We need to let individuals make their own choices and to live and learn from them. Unfortunately there is too much advertising, but it is what it is. I am not a fan of any prescription medication, but I did have to utilize it for postpartum at one point, and it saved my sanity. Quick on, quick off. Continued work to find happiness within myself.

Jerry Mahone July 27, 2009 10:52 am (Pacific time)

I like Hippies.

Henry Ruark July 25, 2009 12:36 pm (Pacific time)

Nelani: Yr experience may apply to whatever pills you took, but not necessarily true for others that they do not work. For any serious reader seeking solid fact, ask for sense and assignment to Beck's cognitive therapy approach. The mind it may save may well turn out to be yours.

Robert July 24, 2009 12:52 pm (Pacific time)

I'm so glad another hippie is complaining about a drug as an excuse to promote the legalization of marijuana. It makes me giggle to no end.

Every drug has adverse effects. Some more so than others, but ultimately it is up to the individual as to whether or not the symptoms outweigh the side effects or not. The government cannot simply ban all drugs because “they hurt people”. Advil hurts people. Should we take it off the shelf?

@Nelani: I'm glad you have no chemical imbalances. But if you have no first hand experience, keep your mouth shut. People suffering from mental illness (depression, in this case) need any form of help that works. I am type II rapid cycling bi-polar and take ambien among other drugs, and while they are NOT the answer (as you imply is our belief), combined with therapy, they are currently saving my life.

- Here’s to hoping for “open minded people” open their minds

Editor: Robert, I am not a hippy, OK?  I am a news editor and a war photographer and I resent you telling another comment poster to "shut their mouth" - pretty crappy don't you think?  So advocate for your pharmies buddy, that's cool and I am glad it helps you even though you strike me as a total addict.  I don't care about that, some things work for some people and that is good.  But we're seeing this advertised as a sleeping aid.   Closed mindedness isn't exactly what led to the discovery of the bi-polar condition that you live with, did it?  The BS advertising campaigns that are taking place on TV for things like this that create danger for the general public.  You strike me as anything but open-minded. 

Daniel July 24, 2009 6:03 am (Pacific time)

The worst ad or just one of too many bogus toxic drugs ?

Nelani July 24, 2009 5:29 am (Pacific time)

The worst drug pushers are the pharmaceutical companies. For some reason, people feel that prescription drugs are not harmful. As far as Ambien, deal with depression with making the choice to be happy, pills don't work.

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