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Study Links Sleeping Pills to Higher Premature Death and Cancer Risks

Posted on March 5, 2012

A study conducted by researchers from Scripps and the Jackson Hole Center for Preventative Medicine has found that Americans who use prescription sleep medicines are at a higher risk of premature death — up to five times higher — and may be 35% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than those who don’t use them.

The study tracked 10,531 patients who had been given prescriptions for sleeping aids for at least three months or longer and matched them against at least two other demographically similar patients who had no record of using any sleeping medications.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the study’s coauthor, Dr. Daniel F. Kripke said that the higher cancer levels he found shocked him. “I suspect people who work for the manufacturers of these drugs might be shocked too,” he told the Times.

Kripke, a specialist in sleep disorders, went on to say that sleep medications have also been linked to depression and sleep apnea and may be responsible for peptic ulcers.

The manufacturer of Ambien, which was the most widely used sleep medicine among participants in the study, called the researcher’s conclusions “highly questionable.”

The researchers estimate that 320,000 to 507,000 deaths may have been attributed to prescription sleeping medications in 2010. IMS Health, which tracks drug trends, says in that same year Americans filled some 66 million prescriptions for “hypnotics and sedatives,” making them the 20th most used class of prescription drugs in the U.S.

This and other studies are increasingly pointing to the potential dangers of prescription sleep medications. If you feel you have suffered from a medication-related injury or a dangerous drug, the Florida prescription drug injury attorneys at Farah & Farah will investigate and avidly pursue compensation for your injuries and medical bills. Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free and confidential consultation.

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