Sedative sleeping pills have been linked to an increased motor vehicle crash risk by a team of researchers at the University of Washington who published their findings in the American Journal of Public Health.
The use of sleeping pills, which the study’s authors refer to as “sedative hypnotic medication,” can nearly double the risk of being involved in a car accident among new users in comparison with non-users, the study’s findings suggest.
According to NBC News, the study’s findings “help justify U.S. Food and Drug Administration warnings about the pills.”
In the study, which was accepted by the American Public Health Association’s Journal of Public Health on April 15, 2015, the researchers sought to estimate the association between car crashes and sleeping pill use. In order to do so, they conducted a new user cohort study which analyzed 409,171 adults in an integrated health care system.
The study’s participants were in the state of Washington.
Dr. Christopher Winter, a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, was quoted by CBS News as having said that the study’s results are “shockingly not shocking.”
This finding is shockingly not shocking. Sleeping pills are a huge problem (…) This study screams that many doctors do not know how to treat sleep patients (…) You have to develop a plan to deal with their sleep, not merely sedate them.
In conclusion, the study’s authors recommend clinicians consider length of treatment and counseling on driving risk when initiating sedative hypnotic treatment with new users.
An unrelated study has found an association between over-the-counter sleep aids and an increased risk of dementia.