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FDA orders lower doses for sleeping pills

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The Food and Drug Administration is requiring makers of Ambien and similar sleeping pills to lower the dosage of their drugs, based on studies suggesting patients face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness. The FDA said Thursday that new research shows the drugs remain in the bloodstream at levels high enough to interfere with alertness and coordination, which increases the risk of car accidents. Regulators are ordering drug manufacturers to cut dosages in half for women, who process the drug more slowly. Doses will be lowered from 10 milligrams to 5 milligrams for regular products, and 12.5 milligrams to 6.25 milligrams for extended-release formulations. The FDA is recommending that manufacturers apply these lower doses to men as well, though it is not making them a requirement. The new doses apply to all insomnia treatments containing the drug zolpidem.

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About a dozen killer whales trapped under sea ice appeared to be free after the ice shifted, village officials in Canada's remote north said Thursday. Residents who feared they would get stuck elsewhere hired a plane to track them down. The whales' predicament in the frigid waters of Hudson Bay made international headlines, and locals had been planning a rescue operation with chainsaws and drills before the mammals slipped away. Officials said the crisis appears to have been averted.

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California's Pinnacles National Monument, a 40-square-mile site that includes caves and towering volcanic rock formations popular with climbers, became the country's 59th national park Thursday. President Barack Obama signed the bill creating the park. The Central California area holds cultural significance for several Native American tribes and is home to the endangered California condor.

Associated Press

FDA orders lower doses for sleeping pills 01/10/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 9:24pm]
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