Ambien/Stilnox, Heath Ledger and negative brand endorsement

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The tragic death of one of Australia’s best respected young actors, Heath Ledger, has created a form of negative brand endorsement for the sleep-assiting drug Stilnox, manufactured and marketed by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Aventis.
While many companies shell out milions on celebrity endorsement, the revelations that this product was reportedly identified as being by celebrity Ledger’s bedside when he was found dead, portray the Stilnox brand in a hugely negative light. Confirmed use or not, the mention of the drug in association with the suicide of Ledger creates an immediate PR crisis for the pharmaceutical company. The manufacturer of the drug, Sanofi-Aventis, quite rightly says it is not appropriate (at this stage) to comment on speculation about Ledger’s death.
This isn’t the first time concerns have been raised about Stilnox’s efficacy. Currently, Australian regulatory authorities are considering further restrictions on Stilnox/Ambien – which contain the active compound Zolpidem – and which have been associated with adverse events, including people carrying out compulsive activities, like eating and driving, while asleep. Thx to Yahoo & ABC news for background.
My wishes are with Heath Ledger’s grieving family, friends and associates.

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9 thoughts on “Ambien/Stilnox, Heath Ledger and negative brand endorsement

  1. Once again Stillnox gets a bad press. Ive been taking them twice a week on and off for a year with no side effects. Stillnox gets bad press because you never hear what other cocktails of drugs or alcohol that people take with them. Lets get all the facts before saying that this dreug is all bad. Have agreat day all

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  2. Thx Matt; as I qualified in my post, Stilnox gets tarnished by association and circumstances, nothwithstanding whether it was consumed or not. While jury is still out, the portrayal of the brand isn’t good, or fair!

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  3. I suffer from chronic debilitating tinnitus and I take stilnox AS PRESCRIBed. Without it I would have no quality of life. I am disgusted to see only negative comments on this drug, media only wants bad news Why dont they do their job and present a proper balanced ..why because this is so much more sensational.

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  4. Zolpidem is an unpredictable drug. Most people who take it like it. But occasionally it is associated with bizarre behaviour, to those affected it can be a disaster. I have been lobbying to have greater controls over zolpidem for years.

    As I wrote in my articles, it is dubious whether the risk/benefit is worth it. see “SLEEP DRUG Zolpidem facing withdrawal?” and “HEATH LEDGER – another victim of zolpidem?” on http://evidencebasedonly.blogspot.com/

    (You have my sympathy Vicki – I have had tinnitus since I was 18 – noise damage).

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  5. Several years ago my husband had serious withdrawl symptoms after being prescribed and taking a sleep aid. In the past year, he experienced debilitating insomnia and again went to the doctor, who prescribed Ambien. He didn’t take it and tried some other strategies instead: a short run every day, totally cutting out caffeine, and cognitive psychotherapy. It took about a month, but he started to feel more in control of things and didn’t worry as much about not sleeping. Once this worry began to dissipate, his insomnia did as well.

    While I recognize that many people’s lives are saved and bettered by medication, I’m personally thankful that he found a non-medicinal way to take care of himself. It took a lot of time and effort on his part (had to miss some work to look after his needs, but the fact is that he feels like he has control.

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  6. Oh, poor pharmeceuticals…this may actually cause them to lose some money! Of course life being lost isn’t nearly as important as money, especially when these pharmeceutical companies are only making billions of dollars. Good God! The CEO’s may actually have to, what? Let’s see…Lose a yacht, get rid of one of the Bentleys, ummmm….give up the Country Club membership? No, probably not….that won’t happen. They’ll remain sickeningly, repulsively rich. They don’t care about lives. They are sociopathically greedy in their quest to sell their product at any price, and if lives are the price, then so be it. ‘Cause, after all, that Fat Cat deserves his Bentley and Yacht far more than all we little people deserve our lives, right? Think about it. The pharmeceuticals only have one goal: to make money, and lots and lots of it, and if some people die in the process, oh, well. So, it’s a PR nightmare for them. Somehow they just don’t get my sympathy.

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  7. Stilnox is just like any other medication. It bandaids one problem only to cause another. You may get that good night sleep your body and mind needs, but pay the price later. BANDAID solution. I have recently weaned myself off stilnox, which I was taking on a daily basis over several years due to bad insomnia caused by major illness. For the first time I experienced panic attacks and anxiety attacks, which was the side effects of STILNOX withdrawl. I reached an astounding 7 tablet a night requirement due to tolerance. They are addictive, contrary to manufacturers claims. They change your personality, as you become just like any other addict and count down to the fix. Having said all this, everybody reacts different to medications. So I wont say dont ever try if required, but just to be cautious and watch out for the signs!!

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  8. In all honesty.We dont know what the mechanism of death is in this situation.In all probability it may have been a interaction of prescription drugs coupled with a reported pneumonia.Everyone is looking at Stillnox,and excluding other drugs such as Valium and other benzo agents which are far more powerful than Stillnox.

    The undeniable fact is we have lost a vibrant young father of one

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  9. My dear friend Sascha’s sister’s death has been attributed to Stillnox. See this facebook group.. there’s also a link to the TV interview which which she highlights the concerns… You would think that if the Pharma’s were genuine.. they would at least halt the sale of the drugs until further investigation of all this “anecdotal evidence.” Vitamins have been banned for less with no notice!

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