a young man takes zolpidem and buys a flight and does not remember;  How is this possible?

a young man takes zolpidem and buys a flight and does not remember; How is this possible?

Two travel packages, totaling R$9,000: This was the purchase made by a young man during a hallucination provoked by zolpidem, according to an account he himself shared on his Twitter profile. The story caught the attention of network users and sparked controversy about the possible side effects of the drug – since yesterday (11/8) it was among the most talked about topics on the platform.

This drug is one of the most prescribed drugs for the short-term treatment of insomnia worldwide. Drowsiness, headache, dry mouth and tiredness are examples of its more well-known side effects, but some people may also experience hallucinations, agitation, and nightmares, according to cyber scam Anvisa (national health watchdog agency).

Zolpidem is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic of the imidazopyridine group. These substances act on the sleep centers in the brain. This is why the drug may be prescribed to people who have trouble sleeping. This substance can only be marketed with a prescription, and is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women or children.

The drug should also not be used in patients with severe and / or severe respiratory insufficiency (difficulty breathing), with severe liver failure or in people who are allergic to any of the components of the drug.

Factors that increase the risk of adverse reactions

According to Gabriel Freitas, Consultant at CFF (Federal Council of Pharmacy) and Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UFPB (Federal University of Paraíba), the drug’s tolerance profile is considered high, and serious adverse reactions are generally rare. But there are some factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing it.

“negative effects dose-He approves. This is, tIf you eat a lot, you are more likely to have severe reactions. If it is eaten dose True, the chance is less, ”explains the pharmacist, alerting the importance of always respecting medical advice.

High doses of zolpidem are also associated with an increased risk of dependence, especially among people who are at risk, have a history of abuse, or are dependent on other substances.

Adults over 65 years of age or debilitated patients are also at increased risk of developing adverse reactions. In the elderly, for example, the drug leaflet states that the dose should not exceed 10 mg per day.

Consumption of zolpidem with alcoholic beverages or drugs containing alcohol may also contribute to unwanted side effects and is therefore not recommended: Alcohol enhances the effect of sedatives, hypnotics or related substances, affecting an individual’s alertness and increasing the risk of accidents when driving or operating vehicles Machines, for example.

High doses of hypnotics such as zolpidem are associated with an increased risk of adverse effects and addiction.

Photo: iStock

According to the drug leaflet, another risk factor is drug interactions. Concomitant use of zolpidem with antipsychotics (antipsychotics), hypnotics, anxiolytics/sedatives, antidepressant agents, narcotic analgesics, antiepileptics, narcotics, and antihistamines may increase drowsiness and motor impairment, including the ability to drive.

In the case of narcotic analgesics, an increased feeling of euphoria may occur, which leads to the occurrence of psychological dependence. In addition, concomitant use of benzodiazepines (anxiolytics) and other hypnotic drugs, including zolpidem, and opioids increases the risk of sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and even death.

“If concurrent use is necessary, the dose and duration of concurrent use of benzodiazepines and opioids should be limited,” the package supplement warns.

Also, according to the document, if the medication causes sleepwalking or other unusual behaviors (such as falling asleep while driving or making a phone call, for example), as well as episodes of delirium the next morning, the person may not remember what they did during the night, Similar to what happened with the young man who shared his report on Twitter – the recommendation is for the treatment to stop and the patient to find their doctor or health worker.

How to reduce the risk of “pre-degree amnesia”

Sedatives and hypnotics such as zolpidem can cause a condition known as ‘antagonistic amnesia’, that is, amnesia for events that occurred shortly after the drug was used. According to the package insert, this usually happens a few hours after you take it.

Therefore, to avoid this situation, the recommendation is to take the drug immediately before going to bed and ensure favorable conditions for continuous sleep for 7-8 hours.

It is not a drug for life

According to Freitas, one of the main properties of zolpidem is its rapid effect – the substance begins to act in the body within about 30 minutes. The purpose of the medication is to shorten the time it takes a person to fall asleep and to reduce the number of times they wake up during the night.

But the drug should not be used as a “crutch” when someone suffers from insomnia: the duration of treatment should be as short as possible and, as with all hypnotics, should not exceed 4 weeks. The pharmacist asserts, “They are not lifelong medications, and they weren’t made for that. Medicines like zolpidem are made to work on schedule.”

The recommendation is to identify the root cause of insomnia whenever possible and treat it before prescribing a hypnotic. According to the zolpidem package insert, the lack of a therapeutic effect after 7 to 14 days of use may also indicate the presence of a mental or physical disorder, and the patient should be re-evaluated.

In addition, Freitas explains that the treatment of insomnia should not be based solely on medication. “Studies show that using zolpidem alone is not effective for treating insomnia, and other non-pharmacological measures are necessary, especially sleep hygiene,” he says.

Sleep hygiene is a set of techniques that are applied before bed, or even during the day, with the aim of preparing the body for sleep, thus achieving a healthier rest.

Technologies include:

  • create a pleasant environment (a dark and quiet room, for example);
  • getting up and going to bed at the same time every day;
  • reduce the use of electronic devices at least an hour before bed; And the
  • Avoid exercising or eating meals close to bedtime.

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