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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Sleeping Pills 'Raise the Risk of Dying' - including benzodiazepines and others...

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Author Topic: Sleeping Pills 'Raise the Risk of Dying' - including benzodiazepines and others...
sparkle7
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http://tinyurl.com/sleepmeds

Sleeping Pills 'Raise the Risk of Dying'

The Herald

02-28-12


SLEEPING pills commonly prescribed in the UK may increase the risk of death more than four-fold, according to new research.

The higher the dose, the greater the risk of dying, while people on higher doses also had higher risks of cancer, experts found.

A wide range of drugs was analysed for the study of more than 10,500 people taking sleeping pills.

They included drugs used in the UK, such as benzodiazepines (including temazepam and diazepam), non-benzodiazepines, barbiturates and sedative antihistamines.

Around one-third of people in the UK are thought to have bouts of insomnia. It tends to be more common in women and older people.

Experts at the Jackson Hole Centre for Preventive Medicine in Wyoming and the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Centre in California, found people prescribed sleeping pills were 4.6 times more likely to die during a 2.5 year period compared to those not on the drugs.

Those taking four to 18 pills a year had a 3.6 times higher risk of dying compared to non-users.

But the higher the dose, the greater the risk - with those taking 18 to 132 pills a year having a 4.4 times higher risk of dying, and people on more than 132 pills a year having a 5.3 times higher chance.

The researchers, writing in the journal BMJ Open, concluded: "Patients prescribed any hypnotic had substantially elevated hazards of dying."

BMJ Open editor-in-chief Dr Trish Groves said: "These findings raise concerns about the safety of sleeping pills."

(C) 2012 The Herald. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company All Rights Reserved

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Lymetoo
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What about the effects of the diseases that are CAUSING insomnia?

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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Marz
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I agree Lymetoo!

I saw another article which criticized how the study was done.

I was wondering what the reasons for the deaths were and one article mentioned the pills cause depression which leads to suicide and cognitive problems which leads to fatal accidents.

Lack of sleep can lead to that too.

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Liz D
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I dont care. Knowing I can sleep because of my sleeping pills is one of the very few joys of life left.
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lymenow
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Apparently dosage is based on number of pills taken, not actual DOSAGE of the pill taken.

Who writes this drivel?

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sparkle7
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It's a large study... I suppose sugar, asbestos, mercury, tobacco & cell phones (among other things) have hazards, too. I'd like to know the risks if there are any before deciding to take any particular drug.

I don't think the Pharma industry is going to like this study so I don't see any hidden motives behind it. BMJ Open journal seems pretty reputable from what I could tell. If anything, Big Pharma is going to try to discredit this info...

I'm not against drugs in general but we do need to assess the risks. There is usually more than one way to solve a problem. It's important to know if something we are taking will cause further health problems.

http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/29/sleeping-pills-increase-risk-of-death-study.html

excerpt-

Commonly used sleeping pills, or hypnotics, such as temazepam and zolpidem, which is prescribed for short-term insomnia, are associated with more than a fourfold risk of death, according to the study published in the BMJ Open journal.

The study was carried out in the US, where up to 10 per cent of the adult population took sleeping pills in 2010. The authors estimate that sleeping pills may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 extra deaths in the US that year.

The researchers, led by Daniel Kripke from the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Centre in La Jolla, California, studied the population served by the largest rural integrated healthcare system in America, in Pennsylvania.

Over a two-and-a-half-year period, they compared the death rates among more than 10,500 people who received sleeping pill prescriptions with those of more than 23,600 others matched for age, state of health and other factors who had not received such medication. The average age of the study group was 54.

The scientists in the study found that even at a relatively low rate of prescription fewer than 18 doses a year those who were given the pills had a 3.5 times greater risk of death compared with those who were not prescribed them.

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'Kete-tracker
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ANY sleep med can "raise the risk" of something bad happening IF it's taken in excess, used inappropriately or combined with other things (i.e: alcohol) that it shouldn't be.
Same goes for 90% of the other prescription drugs out there.

But I'm CONVINCED I never would of "made it thru" my recovery w/o my benzodiazepines.
Heck, I remember I was on 3 sleep, anti-anxiety &/or anti-depressant meds... at the Same Time at ONE point...and I STILL woke up EVERY THREE HOURS!

I didn't die (though I wanted to once or twice [shake] ). More importantly, I got those few hours of sleep, without which I never would've been able to function.

Once my 'kete' load was reduced [a few months into treatment] & I was able to get thru the night with less problems, I reduced the pills to just a 1/2 tablet (1/2mg) of 1 drug, which I weaned myself off of just a year ago. (Just a few are on "standby".)

I never died... I don't think [Roll Eyes] & I'd use 'em again if I needed to.

I bet the next study will show that people on weight loss pills are 3.86 times more liklely to grow fat. [Razz]

BTW, what's the latest research on coffee? Hurt? Help? I've been reading of some new study every few years.
I wish they'd study B.B. like they do The Almighty Bean. We'd have a Lyme Cure by now! [bonk]

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phyl6648
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I would say not sleeping would do as much harm..

Have to have my sleep.. even with pills its not like the good sleep I once had..

Oh, these studies, can't eat, this, take that, even things that once was considered good for us is now bad.. Think I will stop listenint to anyone or thing other than my body..

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Keebler
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-
Phyl,

about being told not to eat this or that:

I'm sorry that you are feeling deprived. I felt that way at first but now I'm amazed at all the choices available - most of which grow straight out of the earth just for us to enjoy.

There are still HUNDREDS of great foods we can enjoy. And thousands of different combinations with various garden herbs and spices. No one need be hungry, bored or deprived with their cuisine.

About sleeping pills:

if pills are toxic, increase risk or damage, they are not going to help in the long run. If they don't really work at the CAUSE, they can't help the body learn how to sleep again.

There are other options. Many.

Also, unless lyme and other infections (parasites, too) & heavy metals are properly assessed & addressed, the NMDA excitatory nerve receptors are just going to go haywire. Infection must be addressed, somehow, some way. Along the way, what helps:
---------

http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/89790

Topic: NATURAL SLEEP & ADRENAL SUPPORT
-

[ 03-01-2012, 01:16 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]

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sparkle7
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I don't know what the answer is. I have taken Ambien & it works. I didn't like it even though it worked. I have insomnia & sleep problems. I think there are alternatives - especially if there's such a higher risk of death from using these meds.

I guess it depends on what is causing the problem. Using binaural beats was helpful for me. You can get CDs that are helpful for sleep with Delta brainwave frequencies.

There are alternatives... If the FDA is not going to protect us from potentially harmful drugs - we have to be aware of the risks. I don't think they should be banned but we need to know how dangereous they may be.

I don't really care for it but marijuana seems like it might be helpful for some of the uses of these drugs. It's a weed & grows everywhere. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone dying from taking marijuana. Yet, it's illegal in most states - countries. Seems really hypocritical.

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WhitneyS
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I can tell you my risk of dying if i don't take sleep meds ;-)
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sparkle7
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Yeah, I know... ; - }

I read in a book by some Harvard doctor that no one ever dies of lack of sleep. I don't know - really. Not getting sleep is pretty rough.

This new study is pretty signifigant. I don't know why it's not a major news story... Probably being suppressed but then people would say I'm a conspiracy theorist.

---

http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/health/38510-sleeping-pill-users-up-to-five-times-more-likely-to-die-early.html

Those taking 18 to 132 pills a year had a 4.4 times higher risk of dying, while those on more than 132 pills a year were 5.3 times more likely to die.

Those taking the highest doses each year accounted for 93 per cent of prescriptions in the study.

This group was also 35 per cent more likely to develop a major cancer. For some drugs, the risk of death was 5.7 times higher, and for temazepam 6.6 times higher.

The effects were greatest among 18 to 55-year-olds, although the reasons are not clear.

Just over 10,500 patients taking sleeping pills were compared with 23,500 not on the drugs, and the study took into account pre-existing illnesses.

The researchers concluded non-drug treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy may be more successful, 'even short-term use of hypnotics' should be reconsidered.

Writing in BMJ Open, they said: 'The meagre benefits of hypnotics, as critically reviewed by groups without financial interest, would not justify substantial risks.'

The journal's editor-in-chief Dr Trish Groves added: 'Although the authors have not been able to prove that sleeping pills cause premature death... these findings raise important concerns.'

---

Benzos are a huge class of drugs & not just for sleep disorders -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzodiazepine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_benzodiazepines

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lymenow
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I'm just not sure how many of these are drug interactions or used with alcohol. That is a MAJOR factor.

I think some people who have sleep disorders are also self medicating in other ways. Throw in a benzo or a sleep aid, that lowers your heartrate, that's a recipe for disaster.

And again, how is dosage not considered? It's like trying to find out why a house fell down but only considering how many storms hit it, not if they were hurricanes or light rain.

I take low dose valium and 1 pill lasts me a week, what category am I in?

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sparkle7
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I think they assessed it by number of pills taken. It was a very large study. I'm no expert in deconstructing how studies are created or what they mean. I'm sure there's a science just in that.

I do think it means something that they found increased death rate correlates the fact that this group takes the medication. It's a big increase percentage-wise - 4 to 5 times... That's a 400 to 500% increase + 1/3 of the group also had a higher incidence of cancer over non-users.

I don't think the companies making these drugs are going to tell people this. Could be why some celebrities died recently & in the past - not to mention people in general that we don't hear about.

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sparkle7
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FYI -

Timeline of celebrities killed by Big Pharma: Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Farrah Fawcett, Elvis and more


http://www.naturalnews.com/034967_celebrities_pharmaceuticals_timeline.html

---

Some of these people are under alot of pressure to perform & it's not easy. If they knew these drugs had the potential to cause death - whatever the case - in combination with alcohol or other things - do you think they would still be taking them?

Same is true for non-clelbrities. It's hard to be ill & go to work & just survive or just "quality of life". Whether it's mental illness in some form or another or insomnia, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, etc., we do need to know the risks.

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'Kete-tracker
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"Those taking 18 to 132 pills a year had a 4.4 times higher risk of dying, while those on more than 132 pills a year were 5.3 times more likely to die."

For a 'fixed' age group?? :confused"
I mean, the older you Get, the more pills you usually end up taking.
Maybe they should say, "the older you are the greater the chance you're gonna die." [bonk]

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LSG Scott
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if your trying to educate People here on Lymenet about how bad and potentially deadly Benzos are, well all i can say is, Good Luck! people out here Love them and they will tell you that they take a very small amount and even though they have been taking them for years they can stop whenever they want and i bet all the names above had a very similar mind set.

--------------------
LSG Scott

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'Kete-tracker
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Re:confused"
That shows ya what happens when you type a graemlins 'code' in... & it's a 'typo'. [Razz]

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sparkle7
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LSG Scott - yeah, I know. I'm not against pharma drugs.

I just don't like hypocracy or mindless brainwashing, the war on drugs, etc. I posted this here because it's really not a big issue to the pharma controlled media - but I don't watch TV so I don't know if it's on heavy rotation on CNN, BBC or not. I sort of doubt it would be. If it is - it's probably worded in such a way as to cause confusion.

If people want to take drugs, pharma or otherwise - I don't mind. If people do decide to take something - it's important to know the risks - whether it's heroin, benzos, marajuana or sugar... I don't think most MDs are going to be explaining about this study to their patients.

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Keebler
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-
http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/89790

Topic: NATURAL SLEEP & ADRENAL SUPPORT (which helps both wakefulness & sleep)
-

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Marz
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With the wide variety of drugs used in the study, it doesnt seem to be very scientific. I mean they even included antihistamines. It would be like comparing apples to oranges. And how long did they follow these people? Also, what was the cause of death? If they got hit by a drunk driver and died, did they blame it on ambien? How many overdosed?

I didnt have insomnia before lyme. Im happy to say I have tapered half way off my benzo dose and will continue to taper and Ive cut my ambien in half. But I now sleep only 4 hours.

Saw my LLMD Thursday and she wants me to have 8 hours uninterrupted sleep. Until something natural kicks in, Ill be using ambien.

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LSG Scott
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Marz your moving in the right benzo direction keep up the good work

--------------------
LSG Scott

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Lymetoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Marz:

Saw my LLMD Thursday and she wants me to have 8 hours uninterrupted sleep. Until something natural kicks in, Ill be using ambien.

-
Sleep is essential to getting well.

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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Marz
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Thanks Scott. I do appreciate your praise and encouragement.

I thank you for getting me started.

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sparkle7
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The problem with using Ambien is that it's hard to fall asleep naturally once you get used to using it to fall asleep... So, you end up being back at square one.

FYI - about antihistamines for sleep...

http://www.sleepdex.org/antihistimines.htm

Even a small portion of the 400% would be something. Death is not reversable. I don't think it's something I would want to deal with as a possible side effect.

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LSG Scott
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Ambien plays very much like a benzo, some believe it is close enough to be considered a Benzo

--------------------
LSG Scott

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Marz
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I agree Sparkle. I don't look forward to "giving it up." But it is possible to taper off of it.

Hopefully, 'square one' next time will be when I'm healthy and can go without sleep for a while if necessary.

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sparkle7
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When they say "taper off" I'm not sure how different this is from withdrawal - like heroin... I have read about others here who have taken these drugs. I don't really see the difference between "tapering off" & withdrawal. To me it's a matter of semantics.

I'm not trying to be hard on anyone. We have to do what we can to feel better to function or just enjoy life. I think there's a time & place for drugs. Pain meds have helped me quite alot & I don't feel that they are negative.

It's just that doctors hand these benzo-type drugs out like candy without taking into account the risks. I actually had a doctor literally throwing samples of one of these drugs at me in her office. I never took them.

The drug companies give the doctors all kinds of perks. This concept of illness management is also taught to medical students & alot of money is given to schools who participate. There are many cases of conflict of interest in this area.

It's a systemic situation. There are ways to deal with these problems of anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. other than taking a drug of which death can be a side effect.

Yet, they demonize marijuana & opiates which have been used for thousands of years... In my case, pain was keeping me awake - yet, the drug of choice by several of my doctors were benzo-type medications. I really just needed something for the pain but most doctors will not write prescriptions for opiates because there is a witch hunt type of atmosphere against opiates.

Like I said, I'm not against people seeking out things that will help but we really have to assess the risks & decide which treatments are appropriate. I never understood why the benzo-type drugs were more acceptable over pain meds.

There's a huge market for these things & they are more expensive than opiates or marijuana. So, the bottom line must be money...

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lymenow
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it's definitely not semantics when it comes to benzo withdrawal. you cannot stop cold turkey like heroin. heroin withdrawal will make you feel terrible for a week. benzo withdrawal will make you feel terrible for months or longer. tapering is mandatory when it comes to benzos.

i saw 43 different docs in a 2 year span during my journey to find out I had lyme. not one ever mentioned benzo's. in fact they adamantly said no when i told them that i heard they helped others.

it wasn't until i had 2 grand mal seizures this summer that my psychiatrist(who I thought was a joke)mentioned xanax or ativan, i tried both and they were way too strong. then i tried valium which stopped my seizures. i do agree that they are very addicting and dangerous if used everyday.

all benzo's are controlled narcotics that are definitely not handed out like candy. maybe in certain parts of the country but not around PA. they are also very very cheap and all are made in generic for 4 bucks so moneys not a motivation anymore.

i personally would never touch a pain med while attempting to beat lyme. acetaminophen, in most pain meds..vicoden and percocet, extremely taxing on the liver and toxic.

i did notice that when i saw a drug like seroquel or lunesta on tv, they were coincidentally pushed on me by doctors at that time and those ARE expensive even through insurance.

i agree marijuana would definitely be safer than any drug mentioned so far. i just don't know if it would be contradictory to lyme treatment. i'd love to know if it's helped others in treatment.

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AuntyLynn
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Lymenow -

In her chronic diagnosis that my mother was "depressed" and "needed counseling" (when she actually had borrelia living her her spinal fluid!) she was given a long succession of anti-depressants - among them Ativan and Xanax at various points.

She became dependant on the Ativan, sneaking off to the ladies' to pop her little "happy pill" whenever any conversation made her "anxious."

I say try the WEED.

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lymenow
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lol. i guess i will start rifling through some old boxes to see if i can find my old cell phone from college. [Smile]
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sparkle7
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There is some cross-over between anti-depressants & meds they give people for sleep. Some doctors prescribe brain chemistry altering drugs for fibromyalgia since there may be a link between brain activity & pain.

Many of the illnesses we deal with are complex. Not everyone has the same constellation of symptoms as others. For some, these meds may help while pain meds may help others.

It's just good to know the risks before getting involved in ones that may be "addictive". When I was taking Ambien - it was quite expensive. I'm glad I stopped. I had no idea it was considered a benzo.

Benzo "addiction" or use actually sounds worse than heroin. I don't know alot about it since I stopped taking the drugs that were prescribed to me. I was also given Zoloft & Lyrica which either I never took or I stopped taking after a week or 2. I can imagine that these drugs have hazards, too.

I read studies that taking a walk or doing light exercise is just as effective as taking an anti-depressant. Some people are just given these drugs because the doctors don't want to spend alot of time trying to figure out what really is wrong with the patient.

Like I said - i'm not trying to minimize anyone's suffering. It's just that we should consider everything before taking a drug that may have bad or long term side effects.

For pain, I have taken vicodin & oxycodone. They were both very helpful for me to function at a normal level. I never felt addicted nor did I build up a tolerance. I have taken them for many years for pain & menstrual cramps.

So - I'm not one to criticize anyone for the choices that they make. It just that I tried every alternative remedy, herb, physical therapy, etc. I could afford before I took any pain meds.

Losing a week a month due to bad menstrual cramps is no fun... Not to mention years of fibromyalgia type pain.

I think medical marajuana could have alot of helpful benefits. It didn't seem to help me much, though. If it were legalized, I would probably try it more to see if it would be helpful as a sleep aid.

Maybe we should all take a trip to Amsterdam to "experiment"...?

Posts: 7772 | From Northeast, again... | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LSG Scott
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people don't realize the fire there playing with here is a great link that touches on it and some you tube horror stories

http://www.benzo.org.uk/ashpws.htm

http://youtu.be/Rgor1qyvqh0

http://youtu.be/AqjhJQZh8pk

http://youtu.be/dLx-i2g0uB8

http://youtu.be/95wMyWzHDFs

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LSG Scott

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Keebler
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What happens to EARS on BENZOS ?

http://www.hearinglosshelp.com/articles/benzodiazepines.htm

Beware of Benzodiazepines Nasty Time Bomb Ambushes the Unwary

May 2006 (updated June, 2006) by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
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Keebler
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Ditto to LSG Scott.

There really are safer ways that are effective. Especially, check out Corydalis.


http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/3/24039

Topic: Looking for long term pain management -- How to improve comfort levels.


http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/89790

Topic: NATURAL SLEEP & ADRENAL SUPPORT (which helps brain function, sleep, energy, mood and so much more)
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Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lymetoo
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OH, OK.. so this is really about marijuana then? [Wink]

--------------------
--Lymetutu--
Opinions, not medical advice!

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sparkle7
Frequent Contributor (5K+ posts)
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Corydalis sounds like an interesting alternative...

http://www.herbalextractsplus.com/corydalis.cfm

I haven't tried it.

In all the years I've taken prescribed oxycodone - I have never had any bad side effects, had to boost my dosage due to intolerance or felt addicted. I been trying other ways to deal with pain, lately. Kratom is quite useful but I find it to be a stimulant. It's not the best thing to take at night before bed - which is when my pain gets worse.

I may need to find a pain managements place & get some pain meds again. It's gotten worse lately - may be due to increased EMFs where I'm living now but I can't move again at the moment. Could be other reasons...? I don't know. Seems like a big issue to get meds for pain these days so it's easier to try some alternatives.

I agree with the people on the thread Keebler posted - marijuana didn't help much. It is known to increase paranoia/anxiety so I don't think it's a great candidate to replace benzos. It does seem to make people sleepy when it wears off.

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