Sleeping pill rouses woman from six year coma

A British woman has been roused from a six year coma with a sleeping pill.

Following a heroin overdose 23 year old Amy Pickard has been in a coma for the last 6 years, unable to eat or breathe for herself since falling unconscious in 2001.

She was reduced to a vegetative state but after taking part in a study of the side-effects of the sleeping pill Zolpidem, her eyes have begun to sparkle and she has even managed to stand.

Amy is now able to breathe on her own and even focus on objects throughout her room, she reacts to strong-tasting foods and is beginning to formulate words.

Zolpidem has awakened her from the coma and she is now more aware of her surroundings.

Amy's mother says it is remarkable and she can see her daughter fighting to get through.

Amy is the subject of a BBC One documentary, The Waking Pill, along with 36 year old Joanne Douglas.

Joanne suffered from bulimia as a student and this is suspected to have triggered a massive seizure, causing her to lapse into a coma.

Amy's mother and Joanne's parents travelled to South Africa following reports that patients there in a similar state to Amy and Joanne had woken up "as if a switch has been flicked".

In a worldwide trial of Zolpidem as a treatment for people in comas, some 60% of patients have apparently started to showing signs of life.

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