WAUPUN - It gives millions of Americans a good night's sleep, but some say Ambien is making them do more than sleep and results could be deadly.
A Wisconsin teen took Ambien to help him sleep, but instead of waking up well rested, a gunshot startled Jordan Wegner out of his slumber. Wegner and his family believe the drug is to blame.
"There was just this loud boom," Jordan's mom, Sandy Wegner said.
What Sandy didn't know, was her son had just shot himself.
"To hear his scream I literally bolted out of bed," Sandy said.
She rushed down the basement stairs to see blood gushing out of her son's leg. Jordan's father was right behind her.
"He had this look of confusion and bewilderment and was like what happened?" Terry Wegner said.
Eighteen-year-old Jordan loaded his dad's gun, and shot off his kneecap. The blast woke him up.
"I just remember waking up and seeing my dad holding my leg," Jordan says.
Jordan claims it's the first time he's ever shot a gun.
Jordan and his family blame Ambien. He took the sleep aid for one month. At one point Jordan scratched his back, until he bled, but continued to use the drug.
So far Jordan's had four surgeries. He probably won't ever be able to bend his injured leg.
"Am I angry? ya," Jordan said.
He wants people to know what happened to him.
"It's like Russian roulette really. One night you can take it and be fine, the next night, you can be another statistic," Jordan said.
Side effects with Ambien vary. Some people taking the drug claim they eat in their sleep, use the microwave, or even turn on the stove and cook." The FDA has even documented some cases of "sleep driving."
Wheaton Franciscan Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Twila Pearson, says people need to be aware of these side effects. When her patients report strange behavior, Pearson takes them off Ambien. When she prescribes the drug, Pearson recommends some precautions:
"Have other people in the house aware of this too, to let them know if they're doing things that are kind of peculiar in the middle of the night," Pearson said.
The drug maker stands by its product. A spokeswoman for Sanofi-Aventis says Ambien is a safe and effective treatment for insomnia if prescribed by a doctor. Julissa Viana also says the user has to strictly follow the label and their physician's orders.
Sandy Wegner doesn't think Ambien should be on the market.
"In my opinion, no, not with the side effects that it can cause," Sandy said.
Jordan is just thankful he didn't take his own life or hurt his family.
The spokeswoman for the drug maker also says the company takes users concerns seriously. However, it can't comment on what happened to Jordan because they don't have all the information in this case.
One note, in 2007 the FDA ordered stronger warning labels for Ambien and other sleep drugs.