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The FDA recently issued two important safety alerts for doctors and patients. The first alert described risks of serious, often fatal injuries linked to use of the three so-called “Z-drugs” for insomnia. The second warned women of childbearing age not to use vinpocetine, an ingredient found in many widely available dietary supplements.
Most U.S. adults drink alcohol at least occasionally. Many also take prescription or over-the-counter drugs that have the potential to inter¬act adversely with alcohol. Avoid serious harm by knowing which drugs should not be taken in combination with alcohol.
Every year, more than 300,000 older Americans are hospitalized due to hip fractures, and almost all of these fractures are caused by falls. Read about new research further linking use of sleeping pills to an increased risk of falls and serious injury.
We oppose the use of all sleeping pills, based on experts’ findings that “nonpharmacological treatments not only cause fewer side effects, but … can sustain long-term improvements more successfully than pharmacological treatments.” Read this article to learn about some suggested nondrug approaches.
This article updates and expands our earlier list of drugs that can have harmful interactions with grapefruit juice. The list now includes 82 different drugs.
The article list 34 other medications that can harmfully interact with sleeping pills, increasing their sedative properties and causing excessive sedation. Excessive sedation at night could increase the risk of falls, should the person get up in the night for some reason. Moreover, excessive sedation causing respiratory depression could be dangerous for people with certain disorders, such as lung disease.
This second article about drug-induced dementia or delirium lists and discusses an additional 79 drugs that can cause these reversible kinds of mental deterioration. The two articles collectively review 136 drugs that can cause these serious side effects, especially in older people.
Patients taking sleep medications could be at risk of severe allergic reactions and complex sleep-related behaviors, which may include sleep driving, driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sleeping pill, with no memory of the event, according to the FDA. DO NOT suddenly stop taking sleeping pills without consulting your physician because of the possibility of withdrawal reactions.
This is the second of a two-part series on drug-induced psychiatric symptoms that began in last month’s Worst Pills, Best Pills News. The information is based on the July 8, 2002 issue of The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics. Article lists drugs and adverse effects.