Brain Mind Center

Sleeping pills dangerous prescription drugs

Sleeping pills are among the most dangerous prescription drugs, often used as suicide pills. Death by accidental overdose is common. The prescription drug manipulation of the modern psyche began in earnest in the 1950's with the growing use of "speed' for weight loss among housewives, barbiturate sleeping pills, and the introduction of Librium, the first modern tranquilizer. Housewives, actors and singers in the 50's and 60's were introduced to uppers and downers as tools of coping with the demands and disappointments of modern life. Most of the action centered around four drug classes: amphetamines, barbiturates, librium and alcohol. Citizens and celebrities died with alarming regularity from mixtures and overdoses of these drugs. even if you survived with these pills, the long-term results were not good. Problems of addiction, brain dysfunction (often called "nervous breakdowns" and "mental illness") and accidents became increasingly prevalent. The combination of alcoholic beverages, “uppers,” “downers” and sleeping pills produced chemical chaos in the brains of users, often with tragic results.

Librium was replaced by a new class of drugs, the benzodiazepines. Valium was the best selling member of this class for many years until problems associated with its use became well known. Other Valium-like drugs were developed as tranquilizers and sleeping pills, to large extent, replacing barbiturates that were fatal in overdose. A common prescription for twenty capsules of secobarbital could kill. Valium as a sedative-tranquilizer has been replaced by related drugs with new names but the same set of problems for the brain: some examples are Ativan, Xanax, Serax, Lorazepam and several sleeping pills such as Dalmane and Halcion. A more recent class of sleeping pills has been promoted as safer and more effective than old pills, but these claims are not supported by the evidence.

Zolpidem (Ambien)

Zolpidem (Ambien) is an intensely advertised and commonly prescribed hypnotic. The drug company claimed that their drug had fewer side effects and less dependency potential than pre-existing insomnia drugs. Studies, however, have failed to demonstrate meaningful behavioral pharmacological differences between zolpidem and classic benzodiazepine-receptor agonists such as triazolam. Zolpidem is an agonist at the gamma-aminobutyric acid A type (GABAA) receptor. Zolpidem can produce interesting but undesirable brain dysfunction such as transient amnesia, sleep walking, and binge eating during the night, often not recalled the next day. For example, a lawyer quit taking the drug after one month, concerned that he awakened to find evidence that he raided the refrigerator and one occasion, he tore a towel rack out of a wall. He had no recollection of his nocturnal activities. He had started using Ambien because his racing mind kept him awake at night.

Liappas et al reported cases of zolpidem abuse and dependence after taking the drug for insomnia. The drug is taken in high doses by some drug addicts for its hallucinogenic properties. Mahoney et al reported on experiences of hospitalized patients: “There was a high frequency of adverse drug reactions, particularly associated with zolpidem use. Zolpidem should be used cautiously in the hospital setting.”

The US FDA finally required sleeping pill manufacturers to include warnings on the packaging advising consumers of potential risks, to write letters to doctors, advising them of harmful effects and to produce brochures that advise patients of the potential risks.The required warnings apply to:

Ambien, Butisol, Carbrital, Dalmane, Halcion, Lunesta (in Canada - Immovane), Placidyl, Prosom, Restoril, Rozerem, Seconal, Sonata (in Canada -Starnoc).


  • You are viewing the Brain Mind Center at Alpha Online. Understanding the human brain is essential to become a well-informed, modern citizen. Stephen Gislason MD, the author of the Human Brain, is a physician-writer who is good at making complex subjects more understandable. This is a book with important ideas, so be prepared to read and then keep the book as reference.
  • Alpha Online is a Division of Environmed Research, founded in 1984 at Vancouver, BC, Canada. Online Since 1995.
    Alpha Nutrition is a trademark and a division of Environmed Research Inc. 

     Download The Human Brain as an eBook


    All Alpha Education and Persona Digital books, eBooks and Starter packs are ordered online. Prices are listed in Canadian Dollars.
    US $ cost is lower depending on the daily dollar exchange rate. Physical shipments by the Post Officel are available to all destinations in the USA and Canada.
    We are located in Sechelt, close to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. eMail: alphaonline@nutramed.com

    Brain Rescue Starter Pack

    This starter pack includes the Alpha Nutrition Program, the Human Brain in Health and Disease and one 500 Gram jar of Alpha DMX. There are a host of clues that link the food supply to mysterious and threatening neurological diseases. We suggest that a prudent person suffering early brain-dysfunction symptoms would be wise to pursue vigorous, thorough diet revision at the earliest opportunity. Because some brain dysfunction compromises judgment learning and motivation, family members, friends and professional advisor often have to initiate diet revision and provide the right direction and support.

    Order Brain Rescue Starter Pack
  •  

    Order Persona Digital Books

    Click the Add to Cart buttons on the left to begin your order for printed books from Alpha Online (mail delivery to US and Canada).
    Download eBooks
    Click the Download button to order eBooks (PDF file) for download. Click book title (center column) to read topics from each book.

    Print Book" Read Topics Download
    Human Nature
    The Good Person
    Pieces of the Puzzle
    Sound of Music
    Surviving Human Nature
    Language & Thinking
    I and Thou
    Emotions & Feelings
    Neuroscience Notes
    Human Brain
    Children & Family
    Intelligence & Learning
    Religion 21st Century

Further reading: Neuroscience Notes, Intelligence and Learning, Language & Thinking

Persona Digital

Persona Digital Books is the publisher of The Human Brain, Neuroscience Notes, Intelligence & Learning and related books. Three books are available as print editions for mail delivery. All books are available as eBooks for download (PDF files).