In Canada, over a third of the elderly use sleeping medications. “Sedative-hypnotics” or “tranquillizers” are the terms for these medications. They have an impact on the brain and the spinal cord.
Sleeping pills are prescribed by doctors for sleep disorders. Other disorders treated with the medications include anxiety and alcohol withdrawal.
Non-drug therapy should usually be tried first in older persons. There are safer and more effective methods for improving sleep and reducing anxiety. This is why:
Sleeping medications may not be very effective.
Many advertisements claim that sleeping medications help consumers get a good night’s sleep. However, studies demonstrate that this is not often the case in practice. People who take one of these medicines sleep a little longer and better on average than those who do not.
Side effects from sleeping drugs can be significant, even fatal.
For elderly persons, all sedative-hypnotic medications include additional hazards. Seniors are more likely to be affected by the medications than younger people.
Furthermore, these sleeping pills may remain in their bodies for a longer period.
Confusion and memory issues, as well as balance changes, are all possible side effects of the medicines.
Falls and hip fractures are more than twice as likely. In elderly individuals, these are common causes of hospitalization and mortality.
Increase your chances of getting into an automobile accident.
The new “Z” medications come with their own set of hazards.
Zolpidem (Ambien and generic) and Zopiclone are two “Z” medicines (Imovane and generic). According to studies, they pose the same or more dangerous than older sleeping pills. There’s also the possibility that they’ll become as addictive as other sedatives.
First, try non-drug therapy.
Get a complete medical examination. Depression or worry pain, restless leg syndrome, and a variety of other illnesses can all contribute to sleep issues.
Even if an evaluation reveals no underlying problem, you should consider alternative options before resorting to medication (tips for better sleep are found below).
- Different types of sleeping medications (sedative-hypnotics).
- All of these medicines carry dangers, particularly for the elderly:
- Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety.
- Alprazolam is a sedative (Xanax and generic)
- Diazepam Uk is a sedative (Valium and generic)
- Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine that is used to (Ativan and generic)
In the case of insomnia, try the following:
- Flurazepam is a sedative (Dalmane and generic)
- Oxazepam is a benzodiazepine that is used to (Serax and generic)
- Temazepam is a sedative (Restoril and generic)
Medications in the antipsychotic or antidepressant classes are sometimes prescribed primarily for sleep, such as:
- Quetiapine is a kind of quetiapine (Seroquel and generic)
- Trazodone (trazodone) (Desyrel and generic)
- Amitryptline Amitryptline Amitryptline Amit (Elavil and generic)
Over-the-counter medications may not be the best option.
Some prescription side effects, such as drowsiness the next day, disorientation, constipation, dry mouth, and difficulty peeing, can be particularly bothersome for seniors. These over-the-counter sleeping pills should be avoided:
- Diphenhydramine (Diphenhydramine) (Benadryl Allergy, Nytol, Sominex, Gravol, generic)
- Advil PM (paracetamol)
- Tylenol PM (paracetamol)
When is it appropriate to use sedative-hypnotic drugs?
If your sleep difficulties are harming your quality of life and nothing else has worked, you may want to consider these medications. However, your doctor should keep a close eye on you to ensure that the medication is benefiting you and not creating any negative side effects.
If it is deemed necessary, it should be administered in the smallest possible dose and for a short time.