Prescription sleeping pills like Ambien can increase the risk of dementia by 80 PERCENT
Conventional sleeping pills can significantly increase the risk of dementia, a study finds.
People who reported taking the drugs “often” or “almost always” were up to 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed than people who never or rarely took them.
However, the results applied only to whites, which the researchers say may indicate that other lifestyle choices and household income may also be a factor.
There’s also the possibility that insomnia — the reason many take sleeping pills — is a risk factor for cognitive decline later in life.
The experiment only looked at prescription drugs like Ambien, not over-the-counter supplements like melatonin.
However, there is some evidence that melatonin also causes cognitive problems when taken over a long period of time.
People who took sleeping pills often had a 79 percent increased risk of developing dementia
Prescription sleeping pills like Ambien are growing in popularity in the US, with around 17 million Americans taking them
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than eight percent of adults take sleeping pills a few times a week to every night, accounting for about 17 million.
One in three Americans gets insufficient sleep. Sleeping less than seven hours a day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
A team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco enrolled 3,068 people with an average age of 74 in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study and followed them for an average of nine years.
Over the 15-year study, over 20 percent developed dementia.
White study participants, who made up 58 percent of the sample pool, took sleeping pills significantly more often than their black counterparts. And those who took pills “often” or “almost always” had a 79 percent increased risk of developing dementia.
dr Yue Leng of the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences said: “Differences can be attributed to socioeconomic status.
“Black participants who have access to sleeping pills may be a select group with high socioeconomic status and thus greater cognitive reserve, making them less prone to dementia.
“It’s also possible that some sleep aids were associated with a higher risk of dementia than others.”
Sleeping pills have become increasingly common in the US, with millions dependent on them, but scientists have cautioned that they do not work as a long-term cure for insomnia.
The study authors asked participants three times, “Do you take sleeping pills or other medications that help you sleep?” with the possible responses: “Never” (zero times a month), “Rarely” (once a month or less), ” Sometimes” (2 to 4 times a month), “Often” (5 to 15 times a month), or “Almost always” (16 to 30 times a month).
Study participants reported taking a variety of prescribed medications for insomnia, including benzodiazepines like Halcion, Dalmane, and Restoril, the antidepressant trazodone, and so-called Z-drugs like Ambien and Lunesta.
Most sleep aids come with a range of side effects, many of which can be mild — like dizziness and persistent drowsiness. But the habit of taking benzodiazepines and sleep-inducing drugs like Ambien most nights can become a habit and lead to dependency or addiction.
The San Francisco findings, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, are not the first to link sleeping pills to an increased risk of dementia. A 2018 study by the University of Eastern Finland found that patients taking benzodiazepines or Z-drugs had an increased risk of Alzheimer’s by around six percent.
In 2014, a team of researchers from France and Canada found a link between benzodiazepines and Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. People who had taken a benzodiazepine for three months or less had about the same risk of dementia as those who had never taken one.
Meanwhile, taking a benzo for three to six months increased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 32 percent, and taking it for more than six months increased the risk by 84 percent.
dr Leng urged people to think twice before reaching for a pill and instead start with a sleep test and cognitive behavioral therapy.
“If medication is to be used, melatonin might be a safer option, but we need more evidence to understand its long-term health effects,” said Dr. Ling.
Ironically, while sleeping pills increase the risk of dementia, insomnia is also thought to be a risk factor for dementia.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-11702025/Using-prescription-sleeping-pills-raise-risk-dementia-80-PERCENT.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Prescription sleeping pills like Ambien can increase the risk of dementia by 80 PERCENT