Ambien CR launch takes hold

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A controlled release version of the Sanofi-Aventis anti-insomnia drug zolpidem, Ambien CR has reached pharmacy shelves, the company said.
The new pill, launched October 7, is being introduced to doctors by a force of 3,500 sales reps, the firm noted.
Sanofi-Aventis is hoping CR receives a warm welcome, as top-selling Ambien is set to move off patent next year. Brand communications emphasize its indication for sleep maintenance, as well as sleep induction. Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi family of agencies handles med ed, consumer and professional ads.
Ambien had U.S. third-quarter sales of 371 million euros ($437 million), up 4.8% from the same quarter last year, according to the drug maker. U.S. sales for the nine months ending in September reached 948 million euros ($1.1 billion), an increase of 8.8%.
The Ambien franchise faces competition from two other recently launched prescription sleep aids, Rozerem (ramelteon) from Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America and Sepracor's Lunesta (eszopiclone).
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