Higher death and cancer risk with sleeping pills
People are relying on sleeping pills more than ever to get a good night’s rest, but a new study by Scripps Clinic researchers links the medications to a 4.6 times higher risk of death and a significant increase in cancer cases. “What our study shows is that sleeping pills are hazardous to your health and might cause death by contributing to the occurrence of cancer, heart disease and other ailments,” said author Daniel F. Kripke. The research is the first to show that eight of the most commonly used hypnotic drugs were associated with increased hazards of mortality and cancer, including the popularly prescribed medications zolpidem ( Ambien) and temazepam (Restoril). Those drugs had been thought to be safer than older hypnotics because of their shorter duration of action. Even among patients who were prescribed just 1 to 18 sleeping pills per year, the risk of death was 3.6 times higher than among similar participants who did not take the medications. The study looked at patients aged 18 years and older, and found the increased risk in all age groups.