Was Ambien Responsible For Roseanne’s Controversial Tweet?

Sleeping drug Ambien can cause a host of side effects, but it’s unlikely racism could be categorized as one, as Roseanne Barr claims.

Tuesday, the comedian wrote in a since-deleted tweet that “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” The “vj” stood for Valerie Jarrett, an Obama White House aide. This led to the cancellation of her hit ABC show Roseanne, and an apology from the comedian, who said at one point she was “Ambien tweeting,” in another social media post that has since been removed.

Sanofi, who makes Ambien, tweeted a response Wednesday morning: “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Dr. Rachel Salas, associate professor of Neurology in the Sleep Medicine Division at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said “people could text or tweet while on Ambien and not remember.” She advises people to avoid sleeping near their phone or electronics while taking sleep medication.

Ambien, also known as Zolpidem, is a sleep medication. People use it to treat insomnia.

The Food and Drug Administration has expressed concern over how Ambien can impair activities (including driving), especially into the morning hours. For that reason, it has recommended the dose be lowered from 10 mg to 5 mg. “Patients with high levels of zolpidem can be impaired even if they feel fully awake,” the FDA wrote in fact sheet about the medication.

Nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and/or diarrhea.vAbnormal thinking and changes in behavior: “Some of these changes may be characterized by decreased inhibition, similar to effects produced by alcohol,” according to its FDA-approved labeling.

Hallucinations: “Visual and auditory hallucinations have been reported as well as behavioral changes such as bizarre behavior, agitation and depersonalization.” Confusion, disorientation and aggression are also listed side effects, the label states.

The label also warns against a possible worsening of depression or suicidal thinking; impaired alertness and motor coordination and impaired vision also have been reported, according to the manufacturer.

Blackouts, where the person drove, had sex or ate while they thought they were asleep, can be associated with the drug, American Addiction Centers reports. The drug has been linked to amnesia in some case reports.