Nearly one-third of adults in the United Kingdom complain of poor sleep and the statistics are similar, if not more alarming, in various European countries among other regions globally. This is why so many people consider using sleep medications or have already tried them.
Before you can reach for a sleeping pill though, it is important to know all the information there is pertaining to the therapeutic, including the sleeping tablets side effects.
It is also important to note side effects that apply to differing groups of sleep meds. Sedative-hypnotics can include:
Benzodiazepines became popular after they were shown to be related to fewer side effects than their predecessors, barbiturates.
According to the American Academy Family of Physicians (AAFP) Foundation, non-benzodiazepines have a better safety profile (fewer side effects and a reduced risk for tolerance) than benzodiazepines. This class of sedative medications is also recommended as a first-line treatment of chronic insomnia. In addition, the best type of sleeping pills are those considered to be rapidly acting with a relatively short half-life.
Sleeping tablets carry added risks of side effects in older persons. This is because as you get older, it becomes more difficult for the body to get rid of the medication. This can increase the effects of sedation and is probably the reason behind the statistics relating to accidental falls following administration of a sleep aid. The World Health Organization (WHO) report falls as the second leading cause of accidental injury and reveals that this is prevalent in seniors.
These can be grouped as follows:
Factors that influence the onset of sleeping tablets side effects include the following:
Some of the side effects associated with the use of common sleeping tablets, like temazepam, and which typically occur less-frequently can include:
Rare sleeping tablets side effects can include allergic reactions and/or parasomnias. Allergic reactions occur when the immune system responds in an abnormal manner to certain substances, like the ingredients of a sleeping tablet.
Each year, at least 200 000 people require medical attention for allergies in the United States and these numbers are mirrored in some parts of Europe. Many of these are in fact related to medications. Although they are rare, the adverse effects associated with sleeping pills can be fatal if they interfere with the breathing function.
Rare sleeping tablets side effects, such as parasomnias, can be observed with the use of certain Z-drugs, like zopiclone. Parasomnias can be characterised as sleep orders which are disruptive and are often related to drinking, eating, walking and talking without any knowledge of doing so. In a 2008 study, in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, zopiclone was revealed to be related to the emergence and exacerbation of sleepwalking, and other parasomnias in extreme cases.
According to Jordahn and other researchers, the mechanism linked to complex behaviours is still being explored and the relation of Z-drugs to these behaviors (like sleepwalking) may be due to concentrations exceeding the advised limits (2016).
If you are using a sleeping pill and notice side effects, you can ask yourself some of these important questions:
By analyzing factors like the above, it is possible to determine whether or not the side effects associated with the sleeping tablets you are using are tolerable or not. If you find these adverse effects may be intolerable, your health care provider may adjust the dosage of the sleeping pill or change the medication altogether.
Updated: 29th January 2021
Review Due: January 2022
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