"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Study: Sleeping Pills Linked with Early Death

I used to sleep like a baby. When I was in my 20's and early 30's, I could hit the pillow at 10 pm and be fast asleep by 10:05 pm. That all changed when I was was in a horrific car accident in 1992, and my sleep has been way off ever since----partly due to chronic pain issues, partly due to post traumatic stress disorder (which is much better than it was, but flares up when I am in a lot of pain or under a great deal of emotional upheaval.)
I have taken a bunch of different sleeping aids, and I was on Ambien for over a year when I started the bioidentical hormonal optimization protocol. I weaned down off the Ambien over a period of about 2-3 weeks (I think, it was a while back now). I now use Cortisol Manager (that also help with adrenal fatigue), Magnesium (take it at night----good for a number of issues, cellular health, etc, and it helps with pain), 2.5 mg of melatonin (over the counter, I get mine at Walmart), and when I really have trouble, I still occasionally use a 25 mg Benadryl tablet. My sleep isn't perfect, but it's a lot better than it was before the hormonal balance. Of course, the fact that I am overall in better health, and I eat better and exercise, probably also contributes to my better sleep.
I read this article http://healthland.time.com/2012/02/28/study-sleeping-pills-linked-with-early-death/ in Time Magazine last week, and since I know so many of you are struggling with sleep (particularly if you are not hormonally balanced) that I thought it important to share with you. A study of over 10,000 patients was done at the Scripps Clinic, comparing those who had been prescribed sleeping pills and those who did not take prescription sleeping aids. A couple of points in the article that I think are important:
Paragraph 2: "researchers found that those who had prescriptions were more than four times as
likely to have died during the study’s 2.5-year follow-up as those who didn’t
take the drugs."
Paragraph 3: "...the researchers also documented a 35% increased risk of cancer among people
taking sleeping pills, compared with the non-prescription group. The risk of
developing lymphoma, lung, colon or prostate cancer associated with sleeping
pills was greater than the effect from smoking."
Read further into the article and you can see that the data was adjusted for some health issues including asthma, heart disease and obesity. It did not, however, adjust the data for possible mental health issues like depression (and interesting side note----most of us who are going through or have been through the menopausal transition and dealt with a "mainstream" doctor have been offered antidepressants-----I've long said we do not have Prozac deficiencies, we have hormone deficiencies!).
If you are taking prescription sleeping aids-------never, never go cold turkey off any medication without physician supervision. Never. I know that sleep disturbances are one of the chief complaints I hear from patients who are in peri/menopause---and it's a vicious cycle---you're exhaused from fluctuating/low hormone levels, then you can't sleep (often from night sweats) and that makes you more tired. The more tired you are, the more you crave carbs (at least I did) and then you gain weight, and you're so exhausted exercising is difficult if not impossible.
Note: my apologies that I had to insert the link to the Time Magazine article the way I did, I am having trouble linking articles the usual way. I think it might be a Blogger issue!