Sleeping Pills and Anti-Anxiety Drugs Increase Risk of Death8 years ago
Posted on Sep 23, 2010, 6 a.m.
New research shows that taking medications to treat insomnia and anxiety significantly increases mortality risk.
A recent analysis of 12 years of data obtained from more than 14000 Canadians has revealed that taking medications to treat insomnia and anxiety significantly increases the risk of death. Professor Genevieve Belleville of Université Laval's School of Psychology in Quebec City, Canada, found that respondents who reported having used medication to treat insomnia or anxiety at least once in the month preceding the biennial survey had a mortality rate of 15.7%, whilst the mortality rate amongst respondents who reported that they had not used such medications was 10.5%. After adjusting for factors that may affect mortality risk (alcohol and tobacco consumption, physical health, physical activity level, and the presence of absence of depressive symptoms) Professor Belleville determined that the use of insomnia or anxiety-relieving medications was associated with a 36% increased risk of death. "These medications aren't candy, and taking them is far from harmless," said Professor Belleville. "Given that cognitive behavioral therapies have shown good results in treating insomnia and anxiety, doctors should systematically discuss such therapies with their patients as an option. Combining a pharmacological approach in the short term with psychological treatment is a promising strategy for reducing anxiety and promoting sleep."
Belleville G. Mortality Hazard Associated With Anxiolytic and Hypnotic Drug Use in the National Population Health Survey. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2010;55.