Health & Fit Stilnox®, Lunesta®: several sleeping pills would be fatal
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Several patients have died after using common sleeping pills, such as Stilnox®. Others were seriously injured. The US Health Agency calls for caution, and adds a warning on the boxes of several drugs.
The French are large consumers of sleeping pills , and in particular the over 65 . In 2015, 64.6 million boxes of benzodiazepines and 46.1 million boxes of hypnotics were sold in France, according to the latest inventory from the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) . Problem: if these drugs can be of great help to sleep, they are not not without risk for your health.
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Hypnotics and benzodiazepines: two main families of sleeping pills
As a reminder, benzodiazepines are anxiolytics, also effective against sleep disorders (Valium®, Xanax®, Prosom®…). The hypnotic , on the other hand, are substances capable of inducing and / or maintaining sleep.
Among them, there are the hypnotic antihistamines (often sold without a prescription), and the hypnotics known as “ related to benzodiazepine ”, close to benzodiazepines, but whose effect is less generalized in the brain. These act directly on the receptors which control sleep. Molecules like Zolpidem (Stilnox®), Zopiclone (Imovane®) and Eszopiclone (Lunesta®) are among them.Hypnotics are said to have killed 20 people
This Tuesday, May 7, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States (FDA) has affixed a new label on boxes of benzodiazepine-related hypnotics, to warn against the risk of drowsiness the day after its use. Indeed, the agency has identified 66 cases of patients faced with this problem after taking these drugs. For 20 of them, it was fatal …
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If these 20 deaths are indirectly linked to the use of sleeping pills, the causes direct vary: carbon monoxide poisoning, drowning, fall, hypothermia , car accident, suicide ... According to the FDA, 46 other people suffered serious injuries after taking sleeping pills, which would have caused them to sleepwalking . Among these injuries, we can note an accidental overdose, near drowning or even exposure to extremely cold temperatures resulting in the loss of a limb.In 2017,
the ANSM warned about the risks of adverse effects linked to sleeping pills. “23% of the serious undesirable effects declared with benzodiazepines are affections of the nervous system ” (somnolence, comas, convulsion, amnesias). In addition, both anxiolytics and hypnotics could cause psychiatric conditions. The American Health Agency warns of the dangers of sleeping pillsThe FDA has therefore added an
warning label on the boxes of eszopiclone, zalepon and zolpidem - the latter molecule being the best-selling in France . "This type of medication is well known to trigger dangerous events," said Dr. Thomas Kilkenny, director of the department of sleep medicine at Staten Island University Hospital (New York).
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In addition to this warning, the FDA requires the addition of an
contraindication , recommending that these drugs not be used if you have had any unusual behaviors while sleeping after taking them. "Although these incidents are rare, they are serious , and it is important that both patients and health care professionals are aware of the risks," said Dr. Ned Sharpless, Alternate Commissioner of the FDA, in a statement . If you experience attacks ofsleepwalking
, or you do not remember completely remembering the activities carried out after the use of sleeping pills, stop immediately using it and contact your doctor . The FDA also recommends that these drugs not be combined with other treatments, or with alcohol consumption, and that it should be kept in mind that sleeping pills can impair alertness and make driving dangerous. Read more
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