Aker Kasten Blog

Sleepless Nights?

by: John Aker | April 15th, 2014

A recent study released by JAMA Internal Medicine, encourages empowering seniors to discuss the use of sleeping pills with their physicians.  You may be familiar with many news headlines concerned with the use of sleeping pills and incidents including memory problems, falls, fractures and even motor vehicle accidents.  Dr. Cara Tannenbaum, Pharmacy Research Chair and geriatrician who released the study, is very concerned with  the use of sleeping pills among seniors.

Dr. Tannenbaum advocates that patients be involved in the decision of whether to use sleeping pills and possible taper their use.  An empowerment intervention handout was devised which described the risks of sleeping pill use in senior and encouraged them to discuss reducing the medication over time.  “Just because you take a medication for a long time does not mean you can never get off it,” Dr. Tannenbaum notes.  The study indicates that the tapering intervention was equally effective in both genders.  Last year the FDA cut the recommended dose of the sleeping pill zolpidem in half for women.

Of the patients who utilized the invention, 27% succeeded in breaking free of the sleeping pills over 6 months and another 11% were in the process of tapering down.  Dr. Tannenbaum’s findings provide a concrete action plan for implementing the recommendation issued in the spring of 2012 by the American Geriatrics Society that sleeping pills–and 53 other medications–should be avoided in seniors.

If you are having difficulty sleeping, it might be best to avoid sleeping pills.  But, don’t fret–there are alternatives to sleeping pills.

 If you know someone who could benefit from Aker Kasten Home Health Care’s specialized home care and skilled caregivers, please contact us to learn more or call us at (561) 955-6010.

The content of this page is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

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