Ask Dr. Dumb: Will Ambien Make Me a Racist Runner?


Readers, it's not often that Dumb Runner jumps into the fray of current events. We're doing so now only reluctantly and out of a sense of duty to you.

The current event we're referring to, of course, is the buzz surrounding the prescription drug Ambien and its possible side effects.  

Ambien (whose generic name is Zolpidem) is prescribed to treat insomnia. According to WebMD, it "belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It acts on your brain to produce a calming effect." 

But what other effects can this drug produce? Should you take it while running? Will it make you a racist?

To answer these urgent questions, we turned to our resident expert on all things pharmaceutical, Dr. Dumb.

Dumb Runner: Doctor, thank you for joining us today.
Dr. Dumb: You're welcome. The Holocaust never happened.

Gah! Sorry. I took an Ambien a few hours ago.

OK. Uh... Speaking of which, what can you tell us about Ambien?
It's a hell of a drug.

Clearly. Is it effective in helping you get to sleep?
It is. But as you can tell, it does have side effects.

Like making you say antisemitic things?
Like making you say antisemitic things, yes. 

What about making you say racist things?
I've never experienced that personally. But, as with any drugs, side effects can vary from person to person. Some Ambien users binge-eat. Others may get dizzy, or confused, or agitated. Still others may say racist things all of a sudden. The brain is a weird thing.

Indeed. Also, Jews control the media.

Dammit! Sorry, sorry... Ambien.

Like many runners, in light of recent events I've been wondering whether I should steer clear of Ambien. Should I?
There's no easy answer to that. As with any drug, taking Ambien has pros and cons. On one hand, Ambien can help you get a good night's rest. On the other, it may make you say racist things. It's a tradeoff.

If I take an Ambien with a caffeinated gel, will they cancel each other out?
That is an intriguing question. To my knowledge, it's never been studied. Though I will point out that caffeinated gels, in sufficient quantity, have been known to cause irritability, nausea, and—in rare cases—a condition called Transient White Supremacy (TWS). Usually that wears off in a few hours.

Back in 2009, when Meb Keflezighi won the New York City Marathon, becoming the first American to win that race since 1982, some suggested it didn't count because Meb wasn't a "real American." Were those people all taking Ambien?
It's possible. You have to remember that Ambien is a very popular drug.

So, to recap: Taking Ambien can make runners say racist things—
Or antisemitic things, yes.

—but that doesn't mean you are racist?
Exactly. It's the drug's fault! By the way, some of my best friends are Jews.

Thank you for clearing this up, Dr. Dumb.
You're welcome!