Addicts and alcoholics often experience sleep disturbance and often seek help from doctors. Sleeping meds have always been risky for addicts, here’s another reason to think twice.
In the study, which compared 10,529 people who received prescriptions for sleep aids with nearly twice as many people with similar health histories who did not take sleeping pills, researchers found that those who had prescriptions were more than four times as likely to have died during the study’s 2.5-year follow-up as those who didn’t take the drugs.
What’s more, the researchers also documented a 35% increased risk of cancer among people taking sleeping pills, compared with the non-prescription group. The risk of developing lymphoma, lung, colon or prostate cancer associated with sleeping pills was greater than the effect from smoking, says the study’s lead author, Dr. Daniel Kripke, co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic. Kripke says users aren’t warned adequately enough about these risks on the drug’s label. “The results were pretty surprising, and as far as I know, the mortality and cancer risks are not reflected in any labels,” he says.
It will be interesting to see if future studies reach similar conclusions.