Ambien is one of the most commonly prescribed sleeping pills in the United States – some 44 million people take it. How much harm can that cause? Apparently, quite a lot.
James Paxinos, 43, was charged with second-degree burglary after court records show he threw roofing materials, gallons of cleaner, and even food off the hotel roof. He also is said to have climbed through a ceiling panel in the men's bathroom before falling through the ceiling into another office.
But he told police he was “very intoxicated” and didn’t remember much of what happened.
His lawyer, Stephen Graham, said Paxinos “suffered an adverse reaction” to Ambien, and that his unauthorized access into portions of the hotel “was done out of confusion while in a dissociative state.”
His doctor wrote Paxinos was prescribed Ambien for the first time to treat restless leg syndrome, and that “this class of medication can lead to sedation and sometimes amnesia… also linked with odd behaviors… and could potentially account for his recent behavior exhibited.”
Paxinos has no criminal history, and works as an associate superintendent in the Clover Park School District near Tacoma. He did not return KHQ’s call for comment.
A spokesperson for the Davenport Hotel said this is now a police matter, and declined to comment further.
However, Paxinos doesn’t appear to be alone.
There are other stories of patients who’ve experience erratic behavior they barely remember while on Ambien; things like crashing into cars, driving in the daylight with pants down – even threatening the lives of passengers aboard an airplane.
The FDA even warns that patients taking Ambien, or it’s generic equivalent Zolpidem, have reported “abnormal thinking and behavioral changes” such as ”sleep-driving.”