Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 16, 2007

Similar cases reported in Malaysian hospitals

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:37 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Sleeping pills have caused unusual side effects in at least three cases in Hospital Kuala Lumpur, said the head of its Department of Medicine.
A patient dosed with the sleeping pill, Stilnox, woke up in the middle of the night, and wandered around the general ward, said Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai.
The patient told the nurse who found him that he was looking for the door to his garden.
The nurse brought him back to his bed, where he quickly fell asleep, said Dr Jeyaindran, who had prescribed the sleeping pill.
“He was in a dream state, and he must have thought he was at home.”
The next day, the patient did not remember what had happened the previous night.
His family said that he had not sleep-walked before.
This happened two years ago when the 65-year-old professional was admitted for depression.
“We put him again on the same drug the next day, and he sleep-walked again,” he said.
It did not recur when Dr Jeyaindran gave him a different drug.
“It’s not a common side effect but it can happen,” he said.
“Doctors should inform patients of such side effects so that family members are more prepared.”
Dr Jeyaindran has continued to prescribe Stilnox for patients, and no similar side effects have emerged.
But it is not the only sleeping pill that has caused such side effects.
Another patient, prescribed Dormi- cum, woke up, had a conversation with his wife, did some chores around the house and went back to sleep.
He could not recall any of it the next day, Dr Jeyaindran said.
A third patient, also on Dormicum, woke up and sent emails to friends and colleagues.
Sleeping pills are often prescribed to give temporary relief to those suffering from stress, depression and chronic insomnia.
Health Ministry’s pharmaceutical services division director Datuk Mohd Zin Che Awang said all drugs carry warnings of adverse effects, which doctors should relay to patients and their family members.
“Many don’t, thinking there will not be any adverse effects.”
Sleeping pills, classified as psychotropic drugs, are available on prescription only.

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