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Study: Prescribed Sleeping Pills Linked to Premature Death, Cancer

Christina Sarich
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August 28th, 2013
Updated 08/02/2014 at 1:23 pm
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sleep pill 263x164 Study: Prescribed Sleeping Pills Linked to Premature Death, CancerThe recommended daily average night’s sleep is just over 8 hours, but only 35% of Americans are getting their rest. With these kind of statistics, it’s no wonder we turn to sleeping pills as a way to try to reverse insomnia; however, one study published by the British Medical Journal has shown that pharmaceutical sleeping pills prescribed by your doctor can lead to an increased death threat of up to 4 times. It also found that those prescribed sleeping pills were more likely to develop cancer.

Electronic medical records of over 35,000 patients were surveyed to find a statistical baseline for this claim, and it was found that even those who took FDA approved medications as few as 18 times per year were still negatively affected. Prescription drugs that are supposed to help us sleep like Ambien, Restoril, Lunesta, and Sonata can actually harm us.

Some argue that those who take sleeping pills and suffer from insomnia already have an underlying health condition, aside from stress, which is causing them to have sleepless nights. A family practice physician at Cleveland Family Medicine, Dr. Scott Nelson said, “I think the underlying conditions which may require sedative-hypnotics are the culprits, not the medicines themselves,” however it is also a known fact that sedation causes sleep apnea. (Here are some herbal sleep remedies to help treat insomnia and sleep apena.)

This can interrupt the body’s natural rhythms of sleep and waking, and cause long-term hormonal imbalances that are only worsened with ongoing use of pharmaceutical drugs. Dr. E. Cuyler Hammond at the American Cancer Society conducted his own studies on patients taking sleeping pills and found that patients who took sleeping pills died 4.6 times more often than those who didn’t. Furthermore, those who took sleeping pills more than 130 times a year were 35% more likely to develop cancer. These studies were conducted back in 1975, and confirm the findings of the British Medical Journal’s currently published study.

Read: 8 Foods to Naturally Increase Melatonin for Better Sleep

The following drugs were found to have an especially pronounced affect on mortality in Hammond’s assessment:

  • Zolpidem
  • Temazepam
  • Eszopiclone
  • Zaleplon
  • Triazolam
  • Flurazepam
  • Estazolam
  • Quazepam
  • Barbiturates (esp. phenobarbital)
  • Antihistamines, mainly diphenhydramine

All of the aforementioned medications lead to an increased probability of developing cancer. Another alternative for sleeplessness might be natural remedies – here are 6 natural sleep apnea treatments.

Additional Sources:

EurekaAlert

From around the web:

  • Bert

    I just went through HELL coming off of temazapan! Do not take this devil drug. Why doctors prescribe these hellish drugs is beyond me. I will take a long time to feel normal again!

  • http://sleepaidsamples.com/ Jessie White

    This is definitely something that people need to take into consideration before they start using prescription sleeping pills. I have personally used prescription sleeping pills for years, and I have found that they work well for me, but I'm going to talk to my doctor asap in order to make sure I'm not sacrificing my health just for a little extra rest. Great article- thanks for posting.