Sunday, November 4, 2007

"Sleeping Pill Appears to Awaken Woman from Coma"

Report: Sleeping Pill Appears to Awaken Woman from Coma

A sleeping pill appears to have awakened a British woman from a six-year coma, according to several news reports

Researchers say Amy Pickard, 23, of Hastings is regaining consciousness after being given zolpidem, sold in the U.S. under the brand name Ambien, according to the Daily Mail.

"When she takes the pill, I see her face relax and the old sparkle return to her eyes," her mother, Thelma Pickard said. "It's incredible."

The woman's case is described on "The Waking Pill," a BBC documentary that aired on Wednesday of this week.

She is one of 360 patients around the world in a trial on using zolpidem for coma patients. The pill's usefulness was first discovered in 1999 when a young South African, Louis Viljoen, who had been comatose for five years, was given a pill and awoke instead of going to sleep, the Daily Telegraph reports.

After taking zolpidem, Pickard has begun to react to strong-tasting foods, can breathe unaided, focus on objects in her room and is beginning to formulate words. She slipped into a coma at age 17 after injecting heroin.

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