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Brain Injury May Be Reversed With Common Sleeping Pill - Ambien Has Helped Some Patients Regain Use of Some Functions - Reverse Damage

July 16th 2006

Brain Injury May Be Reversed With Common Sleeping Pill - Ambien Has Helped Some Patients Regain Use of Some Functions - Reverse Damage


Remarkable research shows that the common sleeping pill Ambien may help patients with brain damage recover the use of some of their brain.  Although the awakening side effect is rare, doctors say that some patients may benefit.

ABC News reporter, Mike Von Fremd, interviewed a doctor that has been studying the prescription sleeping pills.  Dr. Ralf Clauss speculates that while brain injury may cause some parts of the brain to remain dormant, sometimes the drug may temporarily reverse this change.

The news segment involved a young man, George Melendez, who had a passion for baseball, but was involved in a traffic accident leaving his brain damaged.  The injury was serious enough that he was unable to talk or take care of himself. 


Although Melendez is still in a full-time care facility, the doctors believe he has made progress.  The progress, they believe is due to Ambien.  It actually helps Melendez become more alert and able to respond to his parents by either shaking his head yes or no, or sometimes he even speaks.

Clauss said “We are seeing restoration of consciousness and restoration of function in our patients.”  The researchers are not sure what is happening, but the mother of Melendez is sure. 

Flores Melendez learned about the effects of Ambien by accident. She had gotten a prescription for the drug to give to her son because he was having trouble sleeping, and his constant moaning kept them both awake at night.  Ten minutes after his first dose she noticed that the moaning disappeared.


She turned to her son and said “Hey George”.  Her son responded “what?”  That was the first word he had spoken since his accident.  He began to respond and say other words as well.  Since that very first dose in 2002, pat has given Melendez Ambien three times a day, every day.

Recently the reporters went to visit the family.  The morning they saw George was remarkable.  Before Ambien he was stiff, unresponsive and uncomfortable.  After the first dose of the day he was able to say his name and hold up one or two fingers. 

His mother told the reporters that the drug will last for hours before it begins to wear off.  She gives him three pills per day and says she is happy to have just a little more of her son back.  Doctors are uncertain whether George will continue to improve.

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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