Sleeping Pills and the Risk of Fatality

A recent study is pointing to sleeping pills, particularly over-the-counter medications that are marketed across Miami and the U.S., as not only a defective product but as a cause of death to consumers.

Sleeping pills are generally prescribed and used to prevent other health risks and complications that may come from functioning without proper rest. Generally, persons who are prescribed sleeping pills and take them regularly are up to four times as likely to face an early death compared to adults who do not use sleep aids.

The recent study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that people who use prescription sleep aids are also more likely to have cancer diagnosis at some point in their lifetime.

Sleep disorders can lead to a myriad of health conditions and it’s estimated that up to 70 million Americans have insomnia or other problems around sleep.

The BMJ study reported that one in 10 Americans were being prescribed sleeping medications in 2010. The participants of the study had higher rates of diabetes, heart diseases and other health conditions that may be causing the sleep problems in the first place.

Although sleep medications may be helpful for those who work long shifts or difficult hours, these medications have other potentially dangerous side effects. Some troubling side effects can include depression, drowsiness and long-term dependence to the medication itself.

Over-the counter sleep medications carry many of the same risks and side effects as the prescription sleep aids. It’s important for consumers to consult regulatory agencies and medical professionals when weighing the risk of any medication, particularly sleep aids. Medications that are over-the-counter are not automatically safe for use.

Source: ABC News, “Sleeping Pills Linked to Almost Fourfold Increase in Death Risk,” by Lara Salahi, 27 February 2012