Sleep medications cost more than $2 billion per year in their industry and forecasts calculate that worldwide prescriptions for medicines that fight anxiety could climb close to the $6 billion mark each year by 2017. But how safe are these drugs? Research studies have shown just how easy it is to become hooked on such medications and a brand new study just printed up in the British Medical Journal has shown that sleeping and anti-anxiety drugs are killing their users.
The BMJ looked at information from prescription records of primary care physicians, the research report compared nearly 34,750 patients who had been prescribed either sleep or anti-anxiety medications to about 69,420 individuals who were not given such drugs. Under 95 percent of the prescribed medications were benzodiazepines, or drugs with brand names such as Ambien, Lunesta, Valium, Xanax, and many more.
The study discovered that over the average eight year follow-up, for every 100 people that were followed, there were approximately 4 more deaths in the prescription drug crowd than were in the control set.
The major challenge in the research study was finding out what the influence was that could be behind the deaths. Was it due to the drug group being more likely to having other circumstances that might have augmented their chance of death? The researchers did their best to control factors such as age, sex, anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, any other psychiatric illnesses, medical morbidities and prescriptions for non-study drug prescriptions. They also attempted to look at the various individuals’ socioeconomic rank and whether smoking and alcohol were problems or not.
Even with all these factors taken into account, the results stayed the same. There were four per 100 deaths in the drug usage groups. By being on the medications, it doubled the chance of death in the prescription drug crowd when they were compared to the control group. It also showed that the more prescription drugs an individual took while in the study, the larger the chance of death. Basically the more drugs they were on, the more likely they were to die.
This newest study is just one in a lengthy line of research that shows the dangers of medicines that are prescribed for sleep, anxiety, depression and numerous other mental health problems. The list of unintentional risks caused from these medications goes on to include birth defects, seizures, heart problems, suicides and can even cause cancer. They also cause addiction.
If it is left untreated, dependency has the possibility to take over people’s lives, just like any other kind of drug addiction. Dependence is a tragic result of these drugs and is mostly ignored by the medical community.
The fact is that for the most part, anti-anxiety medications cover the warning sign of basic illnesses. Then when someone stops taking these hazardous drugs in order to avoid either the physical health or emotional health magnitudes, the signs come back.
The recent study in the BMJ just adds to finding favor for a better way of doing things for people who suffer from these illnesses. Provide psychotherapeutic procedures which help heal the core cause of sleep or anxiety causes and not turn to drugs which only disguise symptoms are most likely the greatest way to treat mental health problems.
Due to sleep medications costing over $2 billion per year and forecasts calculate that worldwide prescriptions for medicines that fight anxiety could climb close to the $6 billion mark each year by 2017, it would be a proper idea to see if such prescription drugs are safe for patients to take.
By Kimberly Ruble