UL Logo Think twice before consuming a pill offering good sleep as it may be hazardous, or at least the following article suggests so. According to a latest study triggered by the Laval University, drugs prescribed to patients with insomnia and anxiety elevate mortality risk by 36 percent. In fact, various hypotheses have shed light on the probable association between the use of these drugs and heightened risk of mortality.

While conducting the study, data collected during 12 years involving nearly over 14,000 Canadians in the National Survey of Population Health was analyzed. This survey carried out by Statistics Canada encompassed details on demographics, lifestyle and health of Canadians aged 18-102 years. All the participants were surveyed every two years over a period from 1994 to 2007. It was observed that respondents using the drug not more than once during the last months of medication to treat insomnia or anxiety had a mortality rate of 15.7%. On the other hand, respondents who did not consume these drugs at all displayed a rate of 10.5%.

Genevieve Belleville, professor at the School of Psychology at Laval University elucidated, “Drugs to treat insomnia and anxiety are not candy and should not believe it is harmless to eat. As the cognitive behavioral therapies are successful in treating these disorders, physicians should routinely discuss the option with their patients. Combining a pharmacological approach to short-term psychological treatment is a promising strategy to decrease anxiety and promote sleep.”

It was mentioned that during the analysis, personal factors affecting mortality like alcohol and tobacco use, physical health, level of physical activity and the presence or absence of depressive symptoms among participants were taken into consideration. Having scrutinized the survey, it was ascertained that the intake of sedatives or anxiolytics result in a 36% increase of mortality risk.

Experts mention that sleeping pills and anti-anxiety regulate reaction time, alertness and coordination, resulting in accidents or falls. They also seem to have an inhibitory effect on the respiratory system. So during sleep, these medications may cause lung problems. Not only this, the drugs also appear as inhibitors of the central nervous system damaging the trial and elevating the risk of suicide.

The study is published in the latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.