Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alarming Tuesday

Les Bowman sent me a link to a newly-published study titled Hypnotics' association with mortality or cancer: a matched cohort study. Please note: it's "hypnotics", not "hypnotists", although that might be quite interesting.

Why do I care? Because "hypnotics" are basically sleeping pills (Ambien) or sedative antihistamines (Benadryl). And I take both of them (though not together). Gloria is a heavy sleeper, I'm a light sleeper, and my sleep is fitful and highly erratic, at best, without at least a Benadryl tablet.

It's greatly improved my sleep, which has improved my productivity, because I'm usually not walking around exhausted, which I did for years before I started doing this.


Here are some takeaways from the study:
--Patients receiving prescriptions for zolpidem, temazepam and other hypnotics suffered over four times the mortality as the matched hypnotic-free control patients.

---Even patients prescribed fewer than 18 hypnotic doses per year experienced increased mortality, with greater mortality associated with greater dosage prescribed.

--Among patients prescribed hypnotics, cancer incidence was increased for several specific types of cancer, with an overall cancer increase of 35% among those prescribed high doses.


This was a study that analyzed correlation, not causation, and a 4X mortality rate is 4X-ing a very small number, but still, it's certainly cause for concern. So if you take these drugs, or are considering taking them, it's worth your time to read the study and have the information.

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