Little evidence of the long-term effectiveness of sleeping pills in mid-life women

The long-term effectiveness of sleeping pills in mid-life women should be reassessed. These results from a longitudinal cohort study were published in BMJ Open.

Community women were recruited in 7 locations across the United States for the Study of Women’s Health Nationwide (SWAN) between 1995 and 1997. Follow-up data between 2014 and 2016 for women with a corresponding propensity (N = 685) with some sleep disorders were analyzed with regard to sleep quality and medication use.

At the start of the study, the mean age of the study participants was 49.5 years (standard deviation [SD], 8.5) years, BMI was 29.1 (SD, 7.4) kg / m2, 57.5% were white, 46.1% had hypertension, 44.2% were osteoarthritis, and 42.9% were postmenopausal. Most of the women (n = 447) did not take any sleeping pills.

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Women in the medication and no medication group had difficulty falling asleep 3 nights per week (34.5% vs. 30.7%), waking up frequently 3 nights per week (66.4% vs. 65.1%), 3 nights each Waking up early in the morning week (34.0% vs. 30.2.). %), and each disorder 3 nights per week (76.9% vs. 72.0%) at the start of the study.

At 1- and 2-year follow-up, sleep disorders were not significantly changed in any of the cohorts, except that non-users of sleep medication had lower early morning wake values ​​in year 1 (P = .02), but not in year 2 (P = .92).

Only in benzodiazepine users were no significant differences observed for sleep disorders compared to the non-user group (all P = .17). No differences in difficulty falling asleep (P = .12) or early morning waking (P = .28) were observed among women taking selective benzodiazepine receptor agonists and other hypnotics, but the frequency of awakening was during sleep significantly reduced group in non-users (P = .05).

This study may have been limited by relying on self-reported sleep disorders.

These data did not support long-term use of sleeping pills because there was no improvement in self-reported sleep disorders in mid-life women. Additional studies are particularly needed due to the fact that sleep disorders are common and the use of sleeping pills has increased.

Disclosure: One author stated links to industry. For a full list of the details, see the original article.


DH Solomon, K. Ruppert, LA Habel, et al. Prescription medication for sleep disorders in middle-aged women during 2 years of follow-up: a retrospective SWAN cohort study. BMJ open. 2021; 11 (5): e045074. doi: 10.1136 / bmjopen-2020-045074

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor

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