Posted August 20, 2012

Junior Seau toxicology shows traces of sleep aid

NFL

A toxicology report revealed traces of a sleep aid in Junior Seau’s blood. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Junior Seau’s toxicology report revealed traces of a drug used to treat insomnia but no signs of drug abuse.

USA Today has more details on the former San Diego Charger and New England Patriots linebacker who committed suicide on May 2.

The report, issued by the Office of the Medical Examiner of the Count of San Diego, identified the drug as zolpidem.

In the aftermath of the death, friends and family of Seau’s told USA TODAY Sports that he used Ambien, the best-known brand name for zolpidem. (According to Sanofi, the maker of Ambien, 95% of zolpidem sold in the USA is generic.)

Those close to Seau also said he had trouble sleeping for years and did not always take the sleep aids as directed. Nancy Emsley, who often worked out with Seau at a local gym, said she lectured Seau that he needed to sleep for eight hours after taking one. “He just rolled his eyes,” she said.


5 comments
Steve Moore
Steve Moore

Telling an insomniac the he needs to sleep  for 8 hours? Nice try honey. Folks on feedback boards unanimously say those things help for about 4 hrs tops. Like telling an alcoholic to just stop drinking - good luck w/that.

istillbelievein
istillbelievein

 @Steve Moore I have taken Ambien in the past for insomnia.  In my case, it absolutely put me to sleep for up to 8 hours, especially the extended release version, Ambien CR.  My doctor told me stories of people who would get in their cars and drive in the middle of the night and not remember a thing. They were almost literally asleep behind the wheel, and very dangerous in that condition. I took one 12.5mg tablet a night. My doctor took me off Ambien after I had a couple of relatively minor sleepwalking episodes. I can easily see how taking two or three instead of just one could lead to serious problems. All of the above is from my personal experience with the drug, so be careful using a strong word like "Unanimous".

Matt8
Matt8

 @istillbelievein I have taken Ambien as well.  Yes it worked.  I moved to Lunesta which ... at first ... worked for 9 total hours.  But now, after a year or so of use, it only works 4 hours.  I imagine anyone taking Ambien for extended periods of time have similar results since they both work the same way.

clemente21
clemente21

Tranquilizers, pain killers, pharmaceuticals, 90% of them are BAD NEWS!

istillbelievein
istillbelievein

 @clemente21 I agree that drugs like Ambien are easily abused. My doctor and I started with a low dosage, and slowly tweaked my dosage until we found a good balance.  I had to see him once per quarter, and pass a random drug screen once per year. When properly controlled and monitored, drugs like Ambien are safe. The problems arise when patients are not carefully monitored by competent doctors, or ignore their doctors instructions.