America’s Love Affair With Sleeping Capsules Could Be Waning

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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

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

After a dramatic rise in prescriptions for medication like Ambien, the pattern has ebbed, based on a brand new examine, 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 better consciousness of the potential risks in the usage of 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 opposed outcomes that some medicines may need,” Kaufmann mentioned.

The largest 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, 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, notably of Ambien within the early Nineties, in addition to better consciousness of the advantages of sleep, Kaufmann mentioned.

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

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

Researchers mentioned the decline was pushed by knowledge pointing to undesirable unwanted side effects of the medicines. Amongst these are daytime drowsiness, in addition to greater danger 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 severe security dangers.

Kaufmann famous that these medication had been initially designed for short-term use to get individuals by way of bouts of insomnia as they reprogramed their sleep habits. As an alternative, many sufferers turned persistent customers.

“I believe that individuals are starting to grow to be conscious of the potential pitfalls of the usage of 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 medication much less and recommending alternate options corresponding to cognitive behavioral remedy extra.

“Cognitive behavioral remedy for insomnia is a extra sturdy and secure choice to deal with insomnia,” mentioned Hahn, who reviewed the examine 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 adverse results of sleep medication, main 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 evening’s sleep:

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

In case you take a complement like melatonin that can assist you sleep, remember to take it hours earlier than bedtime, Hahn mentioned.

“In case you’re taking it too near bedtime, it may well really mess up your circadian rhythm,” she mentioned, including that whereas it is not an excellent sleep remedy, it may well assist sufferers with jet lag or shiftwork dysfunction.

The findings had been just lately revealed on-line within the Journal of Medical Sleep Medication .

Extra data

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 Medication, Gainesville; Stella Hahn, MD, affiliate medical director, Northwell Sleep Problems Middle, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Journal of Medical Sleep Medication, July, 12, 2022, on-line

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