Using prescription drugs to help you sleep may cost more than you think. It may cost your life. A new study shows sleep drugs increase risk of death as much as smoking.
An estimated six to 10 percent of US adults used some sort of hypnotic sleeping pill in 2010. But, as evidenced by a new study, using sleeping pills can be a dangerous, not to mention ineffective, solution. According to the new research, using prescription sleeping pills can increase your risk of cancer and premature death. In fact, the study, published in the BMJ Open, suggests that those who take such medications are nearly four times more likely to die than people who don’t take them.
“We are not certain. But it looks like sleeping pills could be as risky as smoking cigarettes. It looks much more dangerous to take these pills than to treat insomnia another way,” study leader Daniel F. Kripke, MD, tells WebMD.
The sleeping pills in question are known as hypnotics. They include newer drugs such as zolpidem (the best known brand name is Ambien) as well as older drugs such as temazepam (the best known brand name is Restoril).
Hypnotic sleeping pills actually cause a person to fall asleep. This sets them apart from other sleeping aids, such as the supplement melatonin, which promote sleep through relaxation. Other sleep drugs described as hypnotics by Kripke and colleagues include eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata), triazolam (Halcion), flurazepam (Dalmane), barbiturates, and older antihist
According to MSN Health
“During 2010, between one in 20 and one in 10 adults took a sleeping pill in the United States … Those who were prescribed up to 18 doses a year were 3.6 times more likely to die … Those taking the highest doses were also at greater risk of developing several types of cancer, including esophagus, lymphoma, lung, colon and prostate cancers.”
Over an average of 2.5 years, the death rate for those who did not use sleeping pills was 1.2%. It was 6.1% for people with sleeping pill prescriptions. Even those prescribed 18 or fewer sleeping pills a year had a 3.6-fold higher death risk.
Based on these findings, Kripke and colleagues estimate that sleeping pills are linked to 320,000 to 507,000 U.S. deaths each year.
“We think these sleeping pills are very dangerous. We think they cause death. We think they cause cancers,” Kripke says. “It is possible but not proven that reducing the use of these pills would lower the U.S. death rate.”
Sleeping pills linked to these risks included:
- Midazolam HCL
- Tranxene SD
- Tranxene T
- Xanax XR
- Bon-benzodiazepines including Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata
- Barbiturates, and Sedative antihistamines
Not only are sleep meds dangerous, most don’t put you into deep delta wave restorative sleep. They may knock you out, but they don’t put you into deep restorative sleep. Most sleep drugs cause you to deplete your natural sleep hormones and further deplete your stress coping chemicals-you never get ahead.
Treating symptoms rarely yields long-term relief. No one has a sleep drug deficiency! Treating and correcting the cause(s) of your poor sleep is the key for long-term relief of your fibro symptoms.
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