Ambien Maker Sanofi Shades Roseanne Barr For Twitter Defense: ‘Racism Is Not A Known Side Effect’


Drugmaker Sanofi, the maker of the popular anti-insomnia medication Ambien, issued a statement Wednesday in reaction to Roseanne Barr’s claim that she was tweeting under the drug’s influence when she cracked a joke comparing former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to an “ape.”

“People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world,” the French company wrote, using its U.S. Twitter account.

“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

According to an earlier report from the Inquisitr, Ambien had trended on Twitter after Roseanne Barr said she was “Ambien tweeting” early on Tuesday morning when she tweeted that Jarrett, an African-American former presidential adviser to Barack Obama, was the child of the “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes.” This sparked widespread reactions from other Twitter users, many of whom jokingly said that Ambien made them do a variety of weird things, but never caused them to make racist statements.

As a well-known sedative used to treat people with insomnia, Ambien comes with its share of side effects, according to Vox. Headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness are reported by 10 percent of the drug’s users, while others frequently report bouts of diarrhea and nausea and allergic reactions. There’s also the possibility that using Ambien could lead to hallucinations and other “odd behavioral and psychiatric side effects,” but Vox stressed that this is very rare, with only one to four percent of users claiming that they suffer from such issues.

Prior to Sanofi’s Twitter post saying that racism is not a side effect of Ambien or any of its other medications, several medical professionals and experts tweeted similar disclaimers in the aftermath of Roseanne Barr’s mention of the drug. One such Twitter post that went viral came from The Hill healthcare columnist, surgeon, and scientist Eugene Gu, whose post had been retweeted close to 5,000 times in the four hours since it went live.

“Ambien has quite a few side effects but racism isn’t one of them. Even if Roseanne wanted to claim she had an Ambien blackout and was sleep tweeting, that racism had to come from somewhere deep within.”

As noted by CNBC, Barr has since deleted her “Ambien tweeting” post, where she also asked her fans not to defend her earlier actions and reiterated that she made a mistake. The publication, however, added that Barr, who remains active on Twitter despite saying yesterday that she will be deactivating her account, is retweeting posts from people who have defended her, and even one from a user who alleged that Roseanne’s apology “is not sincere.”