America’s Love Affair With Sleeping Tablets Could Be Waning

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 medication like Ambien, the pattern has ebbed, in line with a brand new research, and fewer medical doctors are prescribing sleep medicines. 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 better consciousness of the potential risks in the usage of these medicines,” stated 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 bettering sleep that do not have the potential opposed outcomes that some medicines might need,” Kaufmann stated.

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 nervousness and insomnia, embody 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 Nineteen Nineties, in addition to better consciousness of the advantages of sleep, Kaufmann stated.

Since then, use of all varieties of sleep medicines dropped, with the largest decline (55%) in federally accepted sleep aids.

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

Researchers stated the decline was pushed by information pointing to undesirable unwanted effects of the medicines. 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 have been initially designed for short-term use to get folks by way of bouts of insomnia as they reprogramed their sleep habits. As a substitute, many sufferers grew to become power customers.

“I believe that individuals are starting to change into conscious of the potential pitfalls of the usage of these medicines,” Kaufmann stated.

Dr. Stella Hahn, affiliate medical director of the Northwell Sleep Dysfunction Heart in New Hyde Park, N.Y., stated medical doctors are prescribing these medication much less and recommending options resembling cognitive behavioral remedy extra.

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

The remedy helps determine 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 detrimental results of sleep medication, major care medical doctors do not feel snug ordering them for long-term use with out investigating different choices, Hahn stated.

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.
  • 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 have hassle sleeping, even in the course of the evening, rise up and do one thing, like studying till you are drowsy.

For those who take a complement like melatonin that can assist you sleep, you should definitely take it hours earlier than bedtime, Hahn stated.

“For those who’re taking it too near bedtime, it may truly mess up your circadian rhythm,” she stated, including that whereas it is not an ideal sleep treatment, it may assist sufferers with jet lag or shiftwork dysfunction.

The findings have been just lately printed on-line within the Journal of Medical 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 Faculty of Drugs, Gainesville; Stella Hahn, MD, affiliate medical director, Northwell Sleep Problems Heart, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Journal of Medical Sleep Drugs, July, 12, 2022, on-line

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