There has been a trend in health care towards prescribing medication for problems sleeping. People are often concerned about the potential health hazards associated with sleeping pills and are often interested in natural sleep supplements to help them sleep. The concern about possible health hazards associated with sleeping pills is justified as conveyed in a news release from Scripps Health, “Scripps Study Finds Higher Death Risk With Sleeping Pills.”
A new study by Scripps Clinic researchers has linked sleeping medications to a 4.6 times higher risk of death and a significant increase in cancer cases among regular pill users. The results of this study, which have been published online in the journal BMJ Open raises serious questions about a growing segment of the pharmaceutical industry which sells sleeping medications and which expanded by 23 percent in the United States from 2006 to 2010 and generated about $2 billion in annual sales.
Study author Daniel F. Kripke, MD, of the Viterbi Family Sleep Center at Scripps Health in San Diego has said “What our study shows is that sleeping pills are hazardous to your health and might cause death by contributing to the occurrence of cancer, heart disease and other ailments.” Dr. Kripke has said this research is the first to show that eight of the most commonly used hypnotic drugs were associated with increased hazards of mortality and cancer, including the popularly prescribed medications zolpidem, which is known by the brand name Ambien, and temazepam, which is also known as Restoril.
It was thought that those drugs were safer than older hypnotics because of their shorter duration of action. In the study the risk of death was 3.6 times higher among participants who took sleeping pills than among similar participants who did not take the medications. And rates of new cancers were 35 percent higher among patients who were prescribed at least 132 hypnotic doses a year in comparison with those who did not take the drugs. Clearly natural alternatives such as relaxation, regular exercise and natural supplements should be considered instead of medications to help with sleep.
Mandel News Service