Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Many use sleeping pills after hospital stay

From CTV News:
Half of elderly Canadian patients who are prescribed the type of sleeping pills called benzodiazepines after being sent home from the hospital are still chronic users of the drugs six months later, finds a new study.

Doctors say the trend is worrisome because benzodiazepines can be addictive. They have also been linked to falls and related injuries such as hip fractures, motor vehicle collisions, as well as cognitive impairment -- particularly when combined with other drugs or alcohol.

"Many patients are first introduced to benzodiazepines during hospitalization," says Dr. Chaim Bell, the lead author of the study and an adjunct scientist with ICES, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, "and although the intent may have been to manage insomnia during the short period of time the patient was in hospital, there are concerns that their use in hospital may result in chronic use after discharge, together with the accompanying risks." ...more

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