February 28, 2012
Sleep medications can be beneficial on nights when you can’t fall asleep, but new research shows that consistent use of these drugs can increase patients’ risks for certain health problems. Reports from FOX DC News indicate that a new study shows that taking sleep aids on a regular basis can more than quadruple patients’ risk of death while also increasing their risk of cancer.
Researchers from the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Center in San Diego, California, and the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine in Jackson, Wyoming, examined 10,500 cases of adults taking sleep medications for two and a half years. These patients were matched with a control group of 23,600 participants based on age, gender, lifestyle, and health. They discovered that patients who took 18 to 132 doses of sleep medications per year were 4.6 times more likely to die than those who were in the control group.
The study was also able to help researchers determine that those taking the highest doses of sleep medications were 35% more likely to develop cancer than members of the control group who did not take the medications.
Estimates show that six out of 10 adults in the United States were prescribed sleep medications in the past year.