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Sleeping Pills Raise Risk of Death - Study

Sleeping Pills Raise Risk of Death - Study

Wednesday, February 29th 2012

A study in the US has found taking sleeping pills on a regular basis can increase the risk of an early death.

Certain sleeping pills could be putting you to sleep for good, with those taking the drugs on a regular basis more than four times likely to suffer an early death, a US study has found.

Even those taking the pills only 18 times a year are more than 3.5 times as likely to die early as those prescribed none.

The study, published in the online journal BMJ Open, found those taking high doses of the commonly used pills faced a significantly increased risk of cancer.

The drugs included benzodiazepines, such as temazepam; non-benzodiazepines, such as zolpidem, eszopiclone, and zaleplon; barbiturates; and sedative antihistamines.

The study tracked the survival of 10,500 people who were prescribed a range of sleeping pills for an average of two-and-a-half years between 2002 and 2007.

Their survival was compared to more than 23,500 people, matched for age, sex, lifestyle factors and underlying health problems, but who had not been prescribed sleeping pills over the same period.

People who took up to 18 doses a year were more than 3.5 times as likely to die as those prescribed none, those taking between 18 and 132 doses were more than four times as likely to die, while people taking more than 132 doses a year were more than five times as likely to die as those prescribed none.

Those taking the highest doses were 35 percent more likely to develop a form a cancer.

The authors of the study said while showing association does not necessarily prove cause and effect, the research does back up previous research showing an increased risk of death among users of sleeping pills.

Lead author Dr Daniel Kripke, of the Scripps Clinic, told the British Medical Journal Open the "meager benefits" of sleeping pills do not justify the "substantial risks".

"A consensus is developing that cognitive behavioural therapy of chronic insomnia may be more successful than hypnotics."

BMJ Open editor in chief, Dr Trish Groves, agreed the findings raise further concern around the prescription drugs.

"Although the authors have not been able to prove that sleeping pills cause premature death, their analyses have ruled out a wide range of other possible causative factors. So these findings raise important concerns and questions about the safety of sedatives and sleeping pills."

 Here is a link to the book The Dark Side of Sleeping Pills by Dr Daniel F. Kripke, M.D

Sourced from NZ Herald 29 February 2012.  Written by Paul Harper

Footnote from Leanne James:

As someone who has experienced insomnia, I can see how easy it would be to think sleeping pills are the answer to a good nights sleep.  I tried many a combination of supplements in an effort to get a long & deep nights sleep. 

The following products I have tried and found that they have helped me with sleeping:

Superior Magnesium
Tru2U Tart Cherry Juice
Endura Magnesium Rehydration Formula

Related health information can be found here:

Calcium Deficiency
Recommended Calcium Intake for New Zealanders
5-HTP A Natural Mood Enhancer
Kava Kava A Nervous System Relaxant
Mineral Power

Related articles can be found here:

Calming with Chamomile
Minerals: Critical for Well-Being
Mood, Sleep, Serotonin and 5-HTP
Relieve Stress Naturally
The Mood Food Connection

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.



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