When sedative hypnotic drugs (sleeping pills) are taken at the same time as other medications or alcohol, a person may experience amnesia along with a disruptive sleep disorder, such as sleepwalking, sleep eating, sleep sex, or sleep driving.
In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked manufacturers of all prescription sleep medications to revise their labels to warn the public of the risk of rare but serious side effects, like sleep driving and other complex sleep behaviors.
To minimize risks, the FDA suggests consumers refrain from using alcohol and other drugs along with sleep medications, and to never use more than the recommended dose of any sleep aid.
See also Ambien Sleepwalking.
Potential forensic implications:
- motor vehicle accidents
- sexual assault
- sleep-related violence
- California v. Reitz (2004) — convicted and upheld on appeal
- R. v. Catling (2005, Dorset, England) — convicted and upheld on appeal