Life & Style | Health

Go easy on the sleeping pills

Taking the pill may not be the best option to treat insomnia, cautions a media report.

  • By January W Payne
  • Published: 00:00 September 15, 2006
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  • A new report from Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine, recommends both the older and newer sleeping pills be taken more judiciously.

Consumers may rely too much on sleeping pills and overlook safer, non-drug remedies, according to a new report from Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine.

“We recommend that both the older and newer sleeping pills be taken more judiciously and less often than appears to be the current pattern of use by millions of people in the US,'' the report states.

Growing awareness

CR says increased pill usage is due to a “growing awareness of the health risks of insomnia and intense advertising and marketing to doctors,'' as well as direct-to-consumer ads that “imply that medication is the best remedy for sleep problems.''

Side effects

CR suggests Ambien, expected to be available in generic form in October, as a ‘Best Buy', despite reports of Ambien-linked sleep-walking, sleep-driving and sleep-eating — including a claim by a member of the US House of Representatives, Patrick J. Kennedy, that he took Ambien before crashing his car in May.

Popular brands

Other heavily marketed sleeping pills include Lunesta, Rozerem, Sonata and Ambien CR.

Average cost for 15 doses of these drugs ranges from $51 (Dh188) for Rozerem to $65 (Dh240) for Lunesta.

CR said that these newer sleep medications can induce next-day drowsiness and carry some risk of dependency and abuse.

— Los Angeles Times-Washington Post

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