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    Ambien (zolpidem) can cause sleep eating

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:18 am Email this article
    Ambien (zolpidem), the most commonly prescribed sleep medication, can cause sleep eating and large amounts of weight gain according to a report on the CBS television show, "The Early Show". This has also been previously reported in the medical literature. It seems to occur mostly in people with sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea or sleep walking and previous episodes of nightly eating according to a report from the Mayo Clinic. Weight Gain

    One woman gained 100 lbs

    One woman reported gaining 100 pounds since starting on Ambien.


    No Memory

    “Amnestic sleep-related eating disorder”: No memory of sleep eating

    She reported that she would wake up and find candy wrappers all around the bed, and crumbs in the bed, but so had no memory of eating them.

    Researchers refer to this as “amnestic sleep-related eating disorder”.


    Half awake

    Half awake and half asleep

    In the CBS report, Dr. Mark Mahowald, medical director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis, Minn., says that, “The brain can be literally half awake and half asleep.”


    Five case reports

    Sleep eating seen in people with sleep disorders

    Timothy Morgenthaler from the Mayo Clinc reported on five case reports of amnestic sleep eating.


    Insomnia plus sleep disorders

    All patients had sleep disorders including restless leg syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea and sleep walking

    In all five cases, people had sleep disorders as well as insomnia.


    Restless leg syndrome

    All patients had restless leg syndrome

    All five patients had restless leg syndrome.


    Sleep walking

    Three had sleep apnea, two had sleep walking

    Three of the five patients also had obstructive sleep apnea, and two of the five patients had sleep walking.

    None had daytime eating disorders

    None of the five patients had a history of daytime eating disorders.

    Two had history of eating in the middle of the night

    Two of the five patients had a history of eating in the middle of the night prior to starting on Ambien (zolpidem).


    Patient #1

    Patient #1: 54-year-old woman

    The first patient was a 54-year-old woman.

    She had the uncontrollabe desire to eat within 30 minutes of falling asleep.

    “She denied bedtime hunger, ate well during the day, and had a stable and normal weight,” the paper notes.

    “She was frustrated and embarrassed by her inability to stop this nighly behavior,” they continued.

    “She also complained that she often had difficulty remembering what she had read after taking [Ambien] zolpidem.”

    She was taking numerous other medication, but the sleep eating stopped after she stopped taking the Ambien.


    Patient #2

    Patient #2: 67-year-old man

    The second patient was a 67-year-old man who had insomnia related to restless leg syndrome which developed two years after the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.

    The most dramatic episode of sleep eating involved him falling down 12 steps after eating, but he did not remember any of it the next day.


    Patient #3

    Patient #3: Nightly eating since age 15

    The patient was a male who had nightly eating since he was 15-years-old.

    Prior to starting on Ambien, he remembered eating at night.

    After starting on Ambien, he experienced more eating episodes per night—two or three per night—increased calorie intake and weight gain, and did not remember most of the sleep eating episodes.


    Patient #4

    Patient #4: Nightly eating for 34 years

    The fourth patient had nightly eating for 34 years prior to starting on Ambien, and had complete recall of each of these episode.

    After starting on Ambien, her nightly eating episodes increased to three per night, and she did not remember two-thirds of them.


    Ambien may prompt sleep-eating. CBS Television Show, “The Early Show”. 2006 Mar 15.


    Morgenthaler TI, Silber M. Amnestic sleep-related eating disorder associated with zolpidem. Sleep Med. 2002 Jul, 3(4):323-27.


    Timothy Morgenthaler
    Sleep Disorders Center
    Mayo Clinic
    200 1st Street SW
    Rochester, MN 55905, USA
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Articles on the same subject can be found here:


    On Mar 31, 2006 at 6:51 am Randy Smith, MD wrote:

    . . . . .

    This medication can be problematic. Some patients will take this medication and not go to sleep right away - instead they may wander around the house in a confused state engaging in eating or other behaviors. Frequently there is no memory of these events the next day as the medication induces a brief period of amnesia. Also once you have relied on this drug for a few weeks you will have great difficulty sleeping without it.


    On Mar 31, 2006 at 7:26 am Larry Hobbs wrote:

    . . . . .

    Dr. Smith,

    Very interesting.


    On Oct 20, 2010 at 3:23 am Steve wrote:

    . . . . .

    Very interesting! Also I found amazing facts on this site http://www.ambienzolpidem.com/

    Please feel free to share your comments about this article.




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