Study: Medicine For Treating Sleep Disorders Associated With Risk Of Overdose In Teenagers

According to a recent study, medicines that are used to treat sleep disorders are linked to a risk of overdose in teenagers. Read on. 

Navya Kharbanda
Written by: Navya KharbandaUpdated at: Nov 24, 2022 22:41 IST
Study: Medicine For Treating Sleep Disorders Associated With Risk Of Overdose In Teenagers

According to a study by Rutgers researchers, published in JAMA Network Open, teenagers and young adults who take medicines with benzodiazepines for the treatment of sleep disorders may be at an increased risk of overdose. Medications with benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat anxiety and sleeplessness. The study analysed how young people with sleep disorders were having a drug overdose after starting a prescription medication for sleeping conditions.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there was a link of benzodiazepines in 12,290 overdose deaths in the year 2020, which increased from 6,872 in 2011 and 1,135 in 1999. But, the researchers found that the risks of drug overdose in young people, who were prescribed a benzodiazepine treatment for insomnia was still unclear. 

As per the results, researchers found that young adults using benzodiazepines for common sleep disorders had a higher risk of overdose during the six months after starting treatment compared with other prescription sleep medications, including trazodone, hydroxyzine and z-hypnotics. The researchers also noted that the risk of overdose was highest in young adults who started treatment with benzodiazepines medicines and were prescribed an opioid recently.

Also read: 3 Types Of Sleeping Disorders And How To Cope With Them

Greta Bushnell, an author of the study and a faculty member at the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Sciences at the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research (IFH), "The risk of drug overdose with benzodiazepine treatment is an important safety consideration when treating adolescents and young adults. We hope these results can inform prescribing decisions and encourage close monitoring in this young patient population."

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