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Pharmacy/sleeping pills


nigel,I am 80 years old and the internet is flooded with nonsense surveys that state people who take sleeping pills are 3 times more likely to die at earlier.i don't think definite link is established.i have been taken lunesta and Xanax together for over a year.should I be concerned?


With all due respect, at the age of 80 you have probably already exceeded the average for the US by quite a number of years, so in many respects your are on the winning side irrespective of what medication you may take. Therefore don't worry unnecessarily!

Statements and statistics such as that you refer to are usually poor in supporting evidence and anything that proves there is a definite link between medication and risk. Often it is only a casual (rather than causal) relationship, and contributing factors are never given. Is it that patients die in their drug-induced sleep, or that they have car accidents because of prolonged sedation, or that the underlying medical condition that is treated by medication is causing death by other causes (e.g. stress-induced heart attacks). They may have other conditions e.g. cancer that cause their death, and the sleeping tablets are part of the pain management regime. The possibilities are numerous, but never get explained.

I hope this helps.


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Nigel Simmons


I am happy to answer general questions on medicines and hospital care. If possible, please use approved / chemical names rather than brands which are not internationally recognised. Like all health professionals I am bound by a duty of care which prevents me giving detailed information about medication or treatment of people other than the questioner. I will endeavour to help wherever possible or point towards more appropriate advice. If however your question crosses too far into patient confidentiality, I hope you will understand why I cannot answer your question. Consider.. would you want me to discuss your care with a friend or relative without your knowledge?


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