The increasing number of people resorting to sleeping pills for treatment of insomnia has no doubt prompted for invention of more effective medications. However, they may not have the best clinical benefits according to a new review study conducted recently.
The importance of sleep can be inferred form the statement 'Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise'. For those of them who are deprived this wonderful gift, there are the new generation sleeping pills that substitute the previously used benzodiazepines. These new class of medications were introduced in 1992 for commercial use and are still regarded to be better compared to benzodiazepines due to the reduced risk of habit formation over a period of time.
AdvertisementA detailed review regarding the safety and effectiveness of the sleeping pills concluded that the drugs were better than placebo pills for treatment of insomnia symptoms such as trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. No drug was found to have a superior outcome even if used consistently. Researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University were involved in the study.
The review team analyzed nearly data from 141 different studies of the new- generation sleeping pills and found that different effects were pronounced in different users. For example, one drug was found to be effective in putting people to sleep while the other was found to enhance the sleep quality.
'Although there are some differences among the drugs on the different outcomes, it does not follow that one drug would necessarily be more or less effective for patients with one type of insomnia over another. We found no studies comparing the different drugs in patients with different insomnia complaints, so we do not know for sure that one drug would work better in one patient over another', said Carson, a member of the review team.
Short-term side effects such as headaches and daytime sleepiness were found to occur at similar rates among the drugs studied. Furthermore, the incidences of hip fractures were found to be higher in older women who took sleep medication compared to those who didn't.
Comparative studies to establish the therapeutic benefits of the newer generation drugs over benzodiazepines are also needed in view of the fact that more than 70 million Americans have sleeping trouble, according to estimates by the National Institutes of Health. More studies to assess the long-term adverse effects such as bone fractures; abuse and withdrawal symptoms are clearly indicated at the moment.