Sleep Medication Interview with Dr. Aaron Kauhane

Dr. Aaron Kauhane
Dr. Aaron Kauhane

ANGELA KEEN:  Unusual side effects of prescription sleep pills are making headlines this week as the FDA ask for more warning labels.  Dr. Aaron Kauhane from Straubs Mililani & King St. Clinic joins us now.  What was your first impression when you heard about this?

DR. AARON KAUHANE:  Well, it was one of concern.  Definitely want to make sure that patients get back and talk to their doctors about any possible side effects that may have occurred and more importantly, if their spouse or significant other has noticed anything.

ANGELA KEEN:  Have you received any reports from patients who do unusual things on Ambien or any of the other sleep aids that's out there now that they're so popular?

DR. AARON KAUHANE:  No, most of the time when people are taking the sleep medication, they've reported early on if they're having any side effects.

ANGELA KEEN:  How do these medication work?

DR. AARON KAUHANE:  Well what they do is, they tell the brain, a part of the brain to go to sleep and what happens, as the medication takes effect, the body just turns itself off.

ANGELA KEEN:  And sometimes the brain is ready to go to sleep but the body's still kind of working.


DR. AARON KAUHANE:  That's right, every individual is affected differently.  It's like telling all my patients to let me know as soon as you start to feel something that's not right.

ANGELA KEEN:  One thing that's been talked about is, that you shouldn't be taking it alone, you shouldn't be doing activities and take it.  What's your advice for folks out there who really need to get to sleep early or who might be dealing with travel issues and need to get to bed early or on another time zone.   What is your suggestion on that?

DR. AARON KAUHANE:  Well, I suggest giving a trial period.  You definitely don't want to try it the night before you go on a trip. Having someone, either a spouse, significant other or friend to be there with you so they can look out for any possible side effects that may occur, especially in light of the recent news.

ANGELA KEEN:  And take it at your bed side, not anywhere else in the house.

DR. AARON KAUHANE:  Oh absolutely, you don't want to be working out or doing the grocery shopping after taking the medication.

ANGELA KEEN:  Or even in the kitchen or wherever.   My husband said you'll going to take it, have it next to the bed stand and that way, you're not up and around the house.

DR. AARON KAUHANE:  That's right.

ANGELA KEEN:  And we should report any adverse reaction to our physician

DR. AARON KAUHANE:  Anything, I think the point to make is really having an open line of communication with your doctor, making sure that you can talk to him or her about anything and things should be better.