Ambien maker to Roseanne: “Racism is not a known side effect”

Roseanne Barr says the sleeping pill Ambien played a role in the racist tweet she sent about Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser in the Obama White House, that led ABC to cancel her TV show. “It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting,” Barr said in a Tweet, adding that her comment was “egregious” and “indefensible.”

The maker of Ambien, Sanofi-Aventis took issue with that rationale.

The company issued the following statement in response to Barr’s tweet: “People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world,” the company said in a statement. “While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

Like all medications, sleep aids like Ambien can come with side effects. According to the drug’s label, common ones include headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Sanofi-Aventis also includes a warning that “abnormal thinking and behavioral changes” have been reported in patients treated with Ambien. These side effects can include aggressiveness, agitation, and hallucinations. In rare instances, people have reported performing activities, such as driving a car, preparing and eating food, and having sex while not fully awake and not remembering these events later on. The company warns consumers should stop taking Ambien if people have such episodes.

“It can rarely be determined with certainty whether a particular instance of the abnormal behaviors listed above is drug induced, spontaneous in origin, or a result of an underlying psychiatric or physical disorder,” the company says.

Barr later said she was not putting blame on the sleep aid for her racist comment.

On Wednesday morning in response to a critic she tweeted: “Yes, I have had odd ambien experiences on tweeting late at night-like many other ppl do. I BLAME MYSELF OK? It’s just an explanation not an excuse.”

ABC Entertainment’s president Channing Dungey announced on Tuesday that the network decided to cancel the “Roseanne” reboot following Barr’s tweet comparing Jarrett to an ape.

Barr’s tweet about Jarrett said, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” Dungey said in a statement.

After initially pushing back against criticism of the comment, Barr admitted her “joke” was in “bad taste.”

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Categories: Health

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *