Thursday, May 18, 2017

Even short term use of sleeping pills more than double risk of hip fracture. Pursue alternatives!

Medications such as benzodiazepines (like lorazepam, alprazolam, etc.) and non-benzodiazepines (like ambien, zolpidem, etc.) have many potential harmful side effects, one of which is hip fracture.  A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 18 high-quality studies showed that short term use (less than 14 days) of these medications was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture 2–3 times normal. [1] These findings are significant in view of the short and long term disability, loss of independence, and much higher risk of dying associated with hip fractures.

My recommendation:
Sleep problems are generally fixable, and the goal should be both improved sleep with better long-term health.  For some suggestions for better sleep see pages 56–57 of Good Food, Great Medicine, 3rd edition.  If your insomnia doesn’t improve, schedule a consultation with a health professional.  Finding a drug-free solution to a good night’s sleep is worth the effort! 


Miles Hassell MD


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