Sam Goddard39 Stroke sufferer, 23, woken up by SLEEPING PILL

Openmedi.orgCan Ambien Cause a Stroke

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Can Ambien Cause a Stroke
Sam Goddard39 Stroke sufferer, 23, woken up by SLEEPING PILL

‘But I picked myself up pretty quickly after that, dusted myself off because what I was going through was nothing compared to what Sam was going through, nothing at all.’

‘It just blew my mind,’ said Sally, who then pleaded with doctors to give the drug to her fiancé. They refused, citing the lack of studies into the connection.

Doctors told his family and fiancée, Sally Jane Nielson, he had suffered a staggering eight strokes, leaving him with permanent brain damage.

He immediay phoned his parents and left them a message.

It is usually used for helping insomniacs get some much-needed sleep.

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So Sally lied, saying Sam needed the pills to sleep and just days later, after a year of only being able to moan uninligible sounds, he did the impossible – he began to talk.

‘I didn't cope very well at all and I actually compley lost it,’ she told ABC. ‘I'd say I probably had a nervous breakdown.

'We’re not able to yet advise families on how to use this drug clinically because the research is in the very early stages,' he told MSNBC.

Unknown cause: Sam Goddard, 24, from Brisbane, Australia, suffered eight strokes in February 2010. Doctors believed he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life - but he has stunned them by speaking.

While Sam's speech remains slurred and slow, it allowed doctors and family to realise his brain had been functioning the whole time – and he had just been unable to express himself.

'There was Sam saying, "I’m talking, I’m talking". It was unbelievable', his father John Goddard told MSNBC.

'That’s the best part about the Ambien,' Sally said. 'It shows what I believed was true – he was really in there.'.

It contains Zolpidem, which studies have found increases blood flow in the brain, particularly in areas involved in language comprehension - allowing improved function.

Sam takes four doses of Ambien a day, but it only lasts an hour or less.

‘They almost laughed at us really. They didn’t think it was possible that a sleeping pill could awaken someone. But I felt compelled to.’

On the day of her planned wedding, Sally said the struggle momentarily became too much.

Devoted: The drugs wear off after an hour, at which point Sam's speech becomes uninligible again.

‘I wouldn’t be me without him. I’d be heartbroken.’

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Ambien, also called Stilnox, is a prescription medicine used to treat insomnia by initiating sleep.

Plans: Sam and his fiancee Sally Jane Nielson were supposed to marry in May - three months after the strokes.

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Recovery: Sam can now speak after taking the pills. Sally has quit her job to look after him full time.

Determined: But his fiancee Sally, pictured, refused to give up hope. She researched options on the internet and found that sleeping pill Ambien had helped other stroke sufferers regain speech and movement in the past.

John White at Moss Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia is leading a study into the connection.

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They warned the family Sam, now 24, would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life, Sally told MSNBC’s Rock Center.

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So far he has found that fewer than 10 per cent of stroke victims respond to the drug - and that Sam's case is extremely rare.

‘They said he would be a vegetable,’ she recounted. ‘There was actually a doctor that told us that we would be better off letting Sam contract an infection, put him in a home and just let him die.’

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But Sally refused to give up on her boyfriend of four years, whom she had been planning to marry three months later.

With intense therapy, he began walking, but was still unable to speak or function alone. He could only moan and had the brain function of a young child.

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But in a miraculous twist, Ambien is believed to have woken up 23-year-old Sam Goddard after he suffered a series of strokes that left him in a coma.

Active: Sam Goddard was healthy and fit - and doctors are uncertain why he suffered the devastating strokes.

Sam would never be able to walk, talk or recognise his loved ones, and would likely be blind, doctors said.

No hope: After the strokes, Sam was in a coma in the ICU for 45 days. Doctors told the family there was no hope of recovery and they should let him contract an infection, move him to a home and let him die, his finacee said.

Sally now cares for her husband-to-be full time, and is still certain she will walk down the aisle one day.

Doctors at the Moss Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are now carrying out research into Ambien’s effectiveness in stroke patients' progress.

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By Lydia Warren Updated: 16:13 GMT, 28 December 2011 34 View comments.

Future: They still hope to marry. Doctors continue to research the connection between strokes and Ambien.

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After 45 days in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit at Royal Brisbane Hospital – where he also contracted pneumonia – Sam woke up and began making slow progress.

‘A lot of people expected me to walk away,’ Sally said. ‘But they just didn’t realise our connection isn’t broken, it’s stronger than anything I’ve ever known before.

‘It is very difficult to comprehend the fact that I can talk now and in an hour or I won’t be able to talk at all,’ Sam told MSNBC. ‘It really sucks.’

On being able to speak again, he 'felt like shouting it from the rooftops', Sam told Rock Center.

Sam, from Brisbane, Australia, was playing football in February 2010 when his head began to pound so severely he screamed for an ambulance.

Desperate to help her fiancé, Sally turned to the internet, where she found a video of another young stroke sufferer feeding himself and talking – thanks to doses of the sleeping aid Ambien.

Studies into the connection between stroke rehabilitation and Ambien are ongoing.

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Can Ambien Cause a Stroke