America’s Love Affair With Sleeping Pills May Be Waning

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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 24, 2022 (HealthDay Information) — Fewer Individuals are turning to sleep medicines to struggle insomnia.

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

“There are a number of doable causes for this decline; for instance, there is a higher consciousness of the potential risks in using these medicines,” 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 latest upsurge in behavioral therapies for enhancing sleep that do not have the potential adversarial outcomes that some medicines may need,” Kaufmann mentioned.

The largest drop-off (86%) in use of sleep medicine 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 medicine, which deal with nervousness 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 and marketing, significantly of Ambien within the early Nineties, in addition to higher consciousness of the advantages of sleep, Kaufmann mentioned.

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

For the research, Kaufmann’s staff used information from 29,400 individuals in a U.S. authorities well being survey carried out each two years.

Researchers mentioned the decline was pushed by information pointing to undesirable unwanted effects of the medicines. Amongst these are daytime drowsiness, in addition to larger threat for automotive 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 medicine eszopiclone (Lunesta), zolpidem (Ambien) and zaleplon (Sonata). Black Field warnings advise sufferers that affected medicine pose severe security dangers.

Kaufmann famous that these medicine have been initially designed for short-term use to get individuals by bouts of insomnia as they reprogramed their sleep habits. As an alternative, many sufferers grew to become continual customers.

“I believe that persons are starting to develop into conscious of the potential pitfalls of using these medicines,” 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 medicine much less and recommending alternate options similar 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 research 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 unfavourable results of sleep medicine, major care docs do not feel comfy 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 night time’s sleep:

  • Restrict caffeine (together with none after 12 midday).
  • Take away TV, computer systems, tablets or telephones from the bed room.
  • Hold 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 hassle sleeping, even in the course of the night time, stand up and do one thing, like studying till you are drowsy.

Should you take a complement like melatonin that can assist you sleep, you’ll want to take it hours earlier than bedtime, Hahn mentioned.

“Should you’re taking it too near bedtime, it might really mess up your circadian rhythm,” she mentioned, including that whereas it isn’t an amazing sleep remedy, it might assist sufferers with jet lag or shiftwork dysfunction.

The findings have been lately revealed on-line within the Journal of Scientific Sleep Drugs .

Extra info

The Mayo Clinic has extra about prescription sleep medicines.

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

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