Ok, probably not in the real sense, but I came across this article that talks about one of the possible side effects of a popular sleeping pill – Stilnox. When I was working at a dispensary, Stilnox was given to patients who had acute insomnia, and is usually given when Valium no longer works for them. Stilnox is this small rounded rectangular pill that is usually given in tabs and names of recipients of this drug are usually recorded for stock-take purposes.

Just in case you feel that this is discrimination, users of Dhasedyl – a popular and addictive cough medicine, also have their names recorded! Haha…

Anyway, back to this drug, users of this drug apparently display unusual sleeping behaviour, such as walking while sleeping or doing other things, and according to the article, “patients were reported to have eaten, made phone calls, shopped online and even driven their cars while asleep after taking the drug. Here, patients have been known to have sleepwalked, cooked and even had sex while asleep, and suffered from amnesia after taking it. None of them could recall doing these things upon awakening”.

I am fine with people sleepwalking – but to make phone calls, shop online or even drive their cars? This is a little uncanny. How do you drive your car while asleep anyway? Can you even get past the entrance of the carpark (or driveway)? However, the most bohua thing to occur is… to have sex while asleep! Hmm… like that also can?

USERS of sleeping pill Stilnox, be warned: The drug may help you sleep, but it may also cause you to walk or do other things while asleep.

Unusual sleep behaviour while on the drug is rare, but enough cases have been reported worldwide – including five here – to warrant a warning on the drug’s packaging. Overdosing on it, or taking it with alcohol, appears to increase the risk of these effects.

Stilnox manufacturer Sanofi-aventis, a French pharmaceutical company, has submitted its revised labelling to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), which is reviewing it.

Sanofi-aventis has already included similar warnings on the packaging for Imovane, another sleeping pill it makes.

The HSA move asking for a warning to be included in the packaging follows similar moves earlier this year by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.

In the US, patients were reported to have eaten, made phone calls, shopped online and even driven their cars while asleep after taking the drug. Here, patients have been known to have sleepwalked, cooked and even had sex while asleep, and suffered from amnesia after taking it. None of them could recall doing these things upon awakening.

The HSA said that the five patients here whose cases have come to light since March this year recovered after they stopped taking the drug.

It is probable that more than five people have experienced these side effects, since reporting to the HSA is voluntary.

The Institute of Mental Health’s pharmacy stopped dispensing the drug to its patients in April, but has since decided that its benefits outweigh the risks.

Stilnox will be back on its pharmacy shelves next month, but doctors and pharmacists will counsel patients who take it.

Dr Adrian Wang, a consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre, still prescribes it as it works well, is less addictive than some other sleeping pills and has few side effects for most people.

He said: ‘It’s a rare occurrence and quite a small problem. It’s like when you drive, there’s a chance the car will crash. But if there’s a need, you’ll still drive.’

Article from straitstimes.com on 2nd November 2007 

* bohua – colloquial for doing something that is not worth the effort

Reader's Comments

  1. Tianhong | November 3rd, 2007 at 12:32 am

    i really dun believe it. having sex maybe being stimulate by partner. but driving is such a complex thing and to do it without having a clear mind is seriously asking for trouble

  2. Try Exercise! | November 3rd, 2007 at 3:49 am

    Wow, I am in disbelief of these facts! Driving a car? Shopping online? Having sex? All while asleep!! This is insane, and should probably be stopped. Just think of a small child playing in the street and getting hit by a sleep-driver. That would be a messy court case.

    Perhaps people should deal with their insomnia in a more traditional way. Tiering yourself out until your body needs rest.

    Instead of people sitting on the couch watching television all night, may they should try some strenuous exercise. This could be anything from running, jumping jacks, martial arts, dancing, or even having sex (while awake!) with a partner. This is the body’s natural way of slowing down for the day, releasing energy and preparing to be rejuvenated through a comfortable sleep.

    Now as for people who do have actually sleeping disorders should seek medical advice, and probably try anything but Stilnox!

  3. mark | November 30th, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    in march this year i took a stilnox tablet at 10am in the morning after being up all night doing an assignment. I slept for a while then what felt like a dream was pulled over by the police after i was cut off by a truck which broke my light. He turned the corner and he didnt realise he hit me so i had to swerve. The police saw that i was in a bad state. Asked me what i was on and i said i have had nothing, i had a sleeping tablet about 8 hours ago. They didnt believe me, took me back to the police station and interviewed me for 4 hours. Then took me to the hospital to getlooked at and blood tested. By now i was freaking out, i didnt know what was going on, I actually thought it was a dream. the police officer treated me like i was a junkie but the doctor was rather concerned. I was there under police supervision for another 4 hours. I thought stilnox was meant to last 5 hours max. I had been taking it on and off for 2 yeears proir with no ill effects. The police finally said i could go , i asked them if they could give me a lift or at least a phone call, they said no. I was outside of a hospital in the middle of the night freaking out still unsure if i was actually dreaming or having a major psycotic episode. Somehow i made my way home, over 10km away. I woke the next morning feeling fine. I walked out to my front and saw my car was gone and immediately thought oh no its been stolen, ran inside and then just as i was about to call the police the doctor from the hospital rang and explained to me what happened and wanted to know if i was okay today, i told him about not knowing anything, etc etc, He said that this drug has some nasty effects that are very dangerous. I havent had any since that day. But the other day i got a summon to court. Drug driving, Wrecklass driving, and a string of other charges. All in the most serious class. I am facing max 1 year jail plus thousands in fines and 5 years los of license. Ive never had any criminal or driving offences in the past, im 29 years old.
    Ive seen just yesterday that they have finalkly decided to add extra warnings on the pack.
    I have no idea what will happen in court, I would never drive if i felt like i couldnt. My friend was kiled drink driving some years agi and its one thing i just dont do. I would hate to hurt or kill another person on the road cause i was drugged out or drunk.
    I am going to tell the truth in court and i hope they understand the truth is real and it was not my fault at all. Im so nervous right now. In hindsight i used to have sex with ym girlfriend at the time and not even remember the next day what had happened, i used to eat food in bed at 3am, do the dishes once i even started painting the windows black to the sun would shine in. Back then there was no reports of stilnox causing anything bad. i wish i knew then. I could be dead, i could have killed someone or more. I was lucky. But am i responsible, i dont know? i dont want a criminal record. Im going to get a class actio n going against stilnox companies due to the lack of warnings. did they even test this drug on people. i realise not everyone is effected but many are. severa deaths noted already. If anyone wants to contact me with any help, ideas of wanting to join my class action with there own bad effect email me at hht_4threich@hotmail.com

    Regards Mark, and seriously if u take this drug give ya keys to someone and stay inside. U seriously are a zombie.

  4. peter Springsteen | December 15th, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Many people may think it funny, but I don’t. My wife and I found our only son dead, hanging from the ceiling of his flat last month. He was taking Stilnox and another unknown prescribed drug for sleep disorder and depression. 3 months now to get a tox report [ disgusting ]and lawyers have been contacted for probable class action or individual law suit. Our life is shattered but someone is going to pay and pay dearly

  5. mark | January 23rd, 2008 at 6:55 am

    well im going through court at the moment for DUi on stilnox. i never screw around in cars and like i said in a previous post took stilnox and next thing i know i woke up the next day after a massive ordeal with the cops the night b4. The thing that pisses me off is the cops didnt even believe me when i told them i took stilnox. they kept saying to tell them what drugs im on and this went on for hours. I have so much evidence about people with the same storys and doctors reports and even the doctor who saw me that night when the police finally took me too the hospital. Since the time this happened i took stilnox once again after insomnia for weeks. I flipped out, luckily not behind the wheel but i ended up on my parents house at 3am after going to sleep at 10pm about a 4 hour walk away. i was wet through and had grass stains on my clothes and ripped pants. I have no idea what i did, i was dreading reading the paper just incase i saw myself in it the following day. Seriously i could have killed someone, done anything and i wouldnt have had a clue. Never again will i touch them, just 2 tabs(my recomended dose) and i just lose my mind. Im so sorry for the man who lost his son, I have no doubt that stilnox could be the main cause. Does the Medical board ban them, no they cut the pack to 14 but only the official brand not the generic one. So nothing has been done to protect people on stilnox. People have already died due to stilnox related sleep walking stunts, many have been done DUI and other things like theft, Break n enter( the girl stole her ex’s remote control and his toothbrush) thats it. She had no idea what happened. To the people who say its rubbish then why would u go to bed and decide to paint your house at night, cook popcorn in chocolate milk so u get chocolate popcorn, discover u have built a teepee with the dinner set all why u was alseep. Its real, its scary for the people when they come too and cant recal what they did. I tried to shoplift alcohol with two guards next to me and my mate saying what are u doing, i was saying it will be okay, im invisible to them. the next day he blew up at me and said how embarrassed he was, i was like what are you talking about? he couldnt believe i had no idea. More people will die, or have dealings with the police and so on. Id rather take a traditional sleeper that may be addictive to battle my insomnia as well as other therapy. Mind u stilnox is very addictive, b4 my first major incident i was on them for 3 years and needed about 4-6 a night to sleep . I went cold turkey and didnt sleep for 3 months. they are addictive, maybe not physically as much as benzo’s but they are addictive mentally and some physically. Ban Them for christ sake. you have been warned. u need any info or lost of articles for evidence email me at mmscott@westnet.com.au i hope i can help you. Also in South africa there is a group action against the manufactorers, maybe if enough get together we can get one up n running in australia and rid the world of these zombie makers.

  6. mark | January 23rd, 2008 at 6:59 am

    also to the person who says battle insomnia by getting tired. I worked a physical job 12 hours a day 6 days a week, went to the gym daily and was dead tired. I hit the pillow and id be wide awake. After 5 hours of tossing and turning come morning u r so exhausted to the point of breaking down. i got about 1 nights sleep in 3 months and that was when i got blind drunk. insomnia isnt just a matter of being active and get yaself tired. just cause u dont suffer it dont mean it dont exist.

  7. jessica | August 13th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    dont take the stuff you idiot . It is as simple as that .

  8. Martin | November 6th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Happened to me… 2nd night on the Stilnox, I woke up at the airport the exact time I was meant to be at work. So I woke up shaved, maybe ate got on the bike and rode to the airport. Woke when the girl at the counter talked to me, gave to pills back to the docs straight away.

  9. Vibrators | July 5th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    If you think its not a goos medicine for you so don’t take it.

  10. Tanwee | April 10th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Stilnox and dhasedyl are a deadly mix of drugs,stronger than valium dhasedyl taken together with daizepam can make u addicted,dhasedyl is very addictive as it contains stimulant same like of morphine and once addicted the road to recovery can be a long and tedious process.

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