America’s Love Affair With Sleeping Tablets Could Be Waning


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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 24, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Fewer People are turning to sleep drugs to battle insomnia.

After a dramatic rise in prescriptions for medication like Ambien, the development has ebbed, in line with a brand new examine, and fewer docs are prescribing sleep drugs. Use of those sleep aids dropped 31% between 2013 and 2018, researchers discovered.

“There are a number of potential causes for this decline; for instance, there is a higher consciousness of the potential risks in using these drugs,” mentioned lead researcher Christopher Kaufmann. He is an assistant professor within the Division of Well being Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics on the College of Florida.

“Additionally, there’s been a current upsurge in behavioral remedies for enhancing sleep that do not have the potential adversarial outcomes that some drugs may need,” Kaufmann mentioned.

The most important drop-off (86%) in use of sleep medication was seen amongst these over 80.

Earlier than this new decline, researchers had reported that between 1993 and 2010, prescriptions for benzodiazepines jumped 69%. The medication, which deal with anxiousness and insomnia, embrace diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax). Over the identical interval, prescriptions for zolpidem (Ambien) rose 140%.

The surge was pushed by direct-to-consumer advertising, notably of Ambien within the early Nineteen Nineties, in addition to higher consciousness of the advantages of sleep, Kaufmann mentioned.

Since then, use of all sorts of sleep drugs dropped, with the most important decline (55%) in federally authorised sleep aids.

For the examine, Kaufmann’s workforce used knowledge from 29,400 contributors in a U.S. authorities well being survey carried out each two years.

Researchers mentioned the decline was pushed by knowledge pointing to undesirable unintended effects of the drugs. Amongst these are daytime drowsiness, in addition to increased threat for automobile crashes, reminiscence loss amongst older sufferers and falls that resulted in damaged hips.

In 2019, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration required “Black Field” warnings on packaging of the sleep medication eszopiclone (Lunesta), zolpidem (Ambien) and zaleplon (Sonata). Black Field warnings advise sufferers that affected medication pose critical security dangers.

Kaufmann famous that these medication had been initially designed for short-term use to get individuals via bouts of insomnia as they reprogramed their sleep habits. As a substitute, many sufferers grew to become continual customers.

“I believe that individuals are starting to turn into conscious of the potential pitfalls of using these drugs,” Kaufmann mentioned.

Dr. Stella Hahn, affiliate medical director of the Northwell Sleep Dysfunction Middle in New Hyde Park, N.Y., mentioned docs are prescribing these medication much less and recommending alternate options equivalent to cognitive behavioral remedy extra.

“Cognitive behavioral remedy for insomnia is a extra sturdy and protected choice to deal with insomnia,” mentioned Hahn, who reviewed the examine findings.

The remedy helps establish ideas, emotions and behaviors that contribute to insomnia. In different phrases, it will get on the underlying causes of sleep issues.

With the heightened consciousness of the destructive results of sleep medication, major care docs do not feel snug ordering them for long-term use with out investigating different choices, Hahn mentioned.

She recommends a number of steps to assist her sufferers get a great evening’s sleep:

  • Restrict caffeine (together with none after 12 midday).
  • Take away TV, computer systems, tablets or telephones from the bed room.
  • Preserve your bed room cool and darkish.
  • Restrict your time in mattress to sleep.
  • Wait till you are sleepy to go to mattress.
  • And when you’ve got bother sleeping, even in the course of the evening, rise up and do one thing, like studying till you are drowsy.

In the event you take a complement like melatonin that will help you sleep, you should definitely take it hours earlier than bedtime, Hahn mentioned.

“In the event you’re taking it too near bedtime, it will possibly really mess up your circadian rhythm,” she mentioned, including that whereas it isn’t a terrific sleep remedy, it will possibly assist sufferers with jet lag or shiftwork dysfunction.

The findings had been lately printed on-line within the Journal of Scientific Sleep Drugs .

Extra data

The Mayo Clinic has extra about prescription sleep drugs.

SOURCES: Christopher Kaufmann, PhD, assistant professor, Division of Well being Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, College of Florida Faculty of Drugs, Gainesville; Stella Hahn, MD, affiliate medical director, Northwell Sleep Problems Middle, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Journal of Scientific Sleep Drugs, July, 12, 2022, on-line

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