Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: sleeping | pills | dangerous | dangers | death | insomnia | sleep

Are My Sleep Meds Risky?

Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 03:18 PM

Question: I have been on different sleep medications since 2007. I have tried to stop using them, but I always end up going sleepless. I never worried too much about it until I read about the new study showing that sleeping pills are linked to higher death rates. My doctor says I shouldn’t worry. Do you agree?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
A study did suggest that sleeping pills was linked to increased deaths. However, until a more scientifically designed clinical trial is undertaken, an association between sleeping pills and more deaths does not prove the pills are the cause. Have you been able to determine the cause for your insomnia? Sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, or chronic pain can cause insomnia. Treatment for an underlying condition may be necessary for insomnia to get better. Depression is another cause that may improve with medications such as antidepressants or psychological counseling. In order to determine the cause and best treatment for insomnia, you may need to see a sleep specialist. Are you using over-the-counter sleep aids? They rarely offer significant help for this problem. Your doctor may prescribe medication and have you try some other strategies to get your sleep pattern back on track.

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Sleeping pills were linked to increased deaths in a recent study. But there is no proof that sleep medications are the cause of premature death.
Tuesday, 03 Apr 2012 03:18 PM
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