Why sleeping pills are a bad idea

Posted by Ed 2 mths ago

I hate sleeping pills. I really hate them. The negative emotional response I get when I see them in a patient’s chart is much stronger than what I feel when I see pretty much any other drug. In particular, there is one class of sleeping pill that I really hate, and that is the weirdly named “nonbenzodiazepine”, which is basically a benzodiazepine (a highly addictive sedative drug) but which as been marketed instead as a sleeping pill. Common examples of nonbenzodiazepines are Imovane and Ambien.

Why do I hate them so much?

Well, because they’re used so irresponsibly by both doctors and patients. The big problem with these drugs is that they are absurdly addictive, and that tolerance develops after just days of use. So, while Imovane or Ambien may help you fall asleep a little bit faster, and sleep a little bit longer initially (the effect is actually quite marginal, less than half an hour), that beneficial effect is completely gone after just a few days or weeks of use.


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