Zolpidem case: see drugs that can cause hallucinations and you don't know

Zolpidem case: see drugs that can cause hallucinations and you don’t know

Recently, a case of hallucinations involving the drug Zolpidem went viral on the internet. A young man said on his Twitter that, after taking the medicine, he purchased two travel packages for R$9,200, but he does not remember having made the purchase (see details of the case here). What few people know is that the drug, considered hypnotic, is just one of those that can cause this and other types of reactions in the brain.


It is worth mentioning that, in general, the use of medicines, whether controlled or not, bring some side effects that can manifest in people. Nausea, muscle aches, dizziness and headaches are some of the most common reactions in users.

In the case of so-called “hallucinogenic drugs”, they can affect the brain and body with the potential to cause a loss of control of some actions. Hallucinations occur when you feel something that isn’t really there — and having them can be a scary side effect of the medication. They can be seen, heard, felt or even smelled, as they can alter all the senses.

Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock

Hallucinations are usually associated with drug use, but some prescription and over-the-counter medications can also cause these effects. Those containing pregnancy hormones or even birth control pills, in addition to commonly used sleep medications, antidepressants, and anxiety medications, are the best known for causing hallucinations.

According to Dr. Alexandre Lucidi, a geneticist, working in Neurogenetics and Neuroimmunology, cites some of them:

Side effects: Euphoria, sedation, vertigo, decreased concentration and cognitive ability, passivity.

  • cough suppressants (cough syrups)

Side Effects: Euphoria, sedation, vertigo, decreased concentration and cognitive ability to a lesser extent than analgesics.

Side effects: Pronounced sedation, accommodation problems, hypotension, fatigue, vertigo, and behavioral changes.

  • antihistamines (antiallergic)

Side effects: Sedation, anxiety, insomnia, paraesthesia, vision changes and hallucinations.

Side effects: Euphoria, sedation, vertigo, decreased concentration and cognitive ability, and passivity.

Side effects: palpitations, nausea, vision changes; aggression, hallucinations, dizziness, hypoglycaemia and altered behavior.

Side effects: drowsiness, confusion, loss of memory and concentration, lethargy and decreased psychomotor ability.

  • antacids (remedies for heartburn)

Side Effects: Abdominal bloating and flatulence (gas) – “Abdominal bloating can be uncomfortable and embarrassing and medications that contain the sugars lactulose or sorbitol, which are used to treat constipation, can cause bloating, as can over-the-counter antacids prescription and contains calcium carbonate in its composition, such as omeprazole, a commonly prescribed medication for heartburn, which has bloating as a side effect”, explained the specialist, who added the drug due to its strong reactions (not necessarily hallucinogenic).

Read more!

Why do some people hallucinate and others don’t?

According with the doctor. Higor Caldato, a psychiatrist specializing in psychotherapies and eating disorders, each person has their particularities, such as the context in which they live and life habits, and it is not possible to generalize the analysis of the phenomena.

In the context of the chemical composition of the medicines, in a simplified way, we can say that the brain can suffer intoxication, which impairs its normal functioning process. Some people are more susceptible, generally due to age, associated diseases, use of other medications and types of liver metabolism.

It is worth mentioning that it is extremely important to consult a specialist before using these or any other types of medication.

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