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Sleeping Pills

The Dangers of Sleeping Pills

BREAKING NEWS: January 10, 2013: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning doctors and patients about the risk of next-morning impairment after use of sleep aids, specifically the risk of “sleep-driving.” The FDA is now requiring lower recommended doses for certain insomnia drugs containing zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, and Zolpimist).

“Patients who take insomnia drugs can experience impairment of mental alertness the morning after use, even if they feel fully awake,” FDA.

Sleep Aids Widely Prescribed

For the estimated 50 to 70 million Americans who suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders, sleeping pills can bring welcome relief for symptoms. Unfortunately, sleeping pills have also been linked to a slew of severe side-effects as well as serious health concerns including cancer and premature death.

British Medical Journal Study- Sleeping Pill Death Risk

The British Medical Journal Open recently published a study which found that taking a hypnotic sleep aid increased a person’s risk of mortality by 3 to 5 times that of a non-user.

The study analyzed data from 10,529 patients who used a sleeping pill and 23,676 who did not. Researchers found that people who took less than 18 pills per year were 3.5 times more likely to die than non-users while people who took more than 132 pills were 5 times more likely to die and 35% more likely to develop cancer.

Other Sleeping Pill Side-Effects

  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Addiction
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Temporary insomnia
  • Parasomnia (state of half asleep and half awake semi-consciousness)
  • Sleepwalking
  • Memory loss or amnesia
  • Falling asleep while operating heavy machinery
  • Daytime sleepiness or feeling of being drugged, resulting in an accident or fall

Common Sleeping Pills/Aids

  • Benzodiazepines (Restoril, Dalmane, Doral, Halcion, ProSom)
  • Non-benzodiazepines (Ambien, Intermezzo, Lunesta, Sonata)
  • Barbituates (Amytal, Nembutoal, Seconal)
  • Sedative antihistamines (most over-the-counter sleep meds fall into this class)
  • Ambien


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