BOSTON (CBS) – The company that makes Ambien wants everyone to know that racism is not a “known side effect” of the medication.
The medicine used to treat insomnia became a trending topic on social media Wednesday after Roseanne Barr blamed it for a racist tweet she sent out that quickly led to the abrupt cancellation of her popular ABC show “Roseanne.” Other networks pulled reruns of the sitcom.
“I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me,” Barr wrote in the now-deleted Tweet. “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please.”
New Jersey-based Sanofi US, which manufactures the drug, responded hours later on Twitter, saying:
“People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”
The side effects of Ambien include drowsiness, dizziness, and diarrhea, according to Sanofi US. But WBZ-TV’s Dr. Mallika Marshall says it can also lead to hallucinations, confusion, loss of inhibition, short-term memory loss, and bizarre behavior.
“People will say they get out of bed and do things they have no recollection of doing – raid the refrigerator, make phone calls, shop online, even get into a car. If you mix Ambien with alcohol or other drugs, you’re at higher risk,” Marshall said.
Ambien isn’t the only sleep aid that can cause these problems but it’s probably most known for triggering odd behaviors, according to Dr. Marshall. However, she says it’s not going change someone’s core beliefs and the manufacturer was quick to point that out.