Kids, Young Adults Taking Sleep Meds in Record Numbers

If you want to better understand why I'm so concerned about patients -- especially young children -- taking useless sleep drugs like Lunesta and Ambien, you'll want to review a new study from Medco Health Solution (free text link below).

Prescription sleep aid use among kids (ages 10-19) rose a frightening 85 percent based on an analysis of prescription drug claims from more than 2 million Americans from 2000-2004. And spending for these sleep drugs among that age group climbed an amazing 223 percent!

More by the numbers:

  • Spending on sleep meds among adults in the 20-44 age category spiked upward 190 percent.
  • Children in the 10-19 age bracket showed the highest dual usage of prescription sleep aids as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs at 15 percent.
  • Women used prescription sleep aids far more often than men, particularly among young women under 19 (37 percent) and those between 20-64 (58 percent).
  • Although adults over age 64 take more sleep medications, the increased use was lower among that age group (16.5 percent) than all the others in the study.

Getting the right amount of sleep is one of best things you can do to optimize your health, as well as reduce your risk of obesity, and you don't need to rely on a potentially toxic drug to do it for you.

If getting the right amount of sleep is a problem for you, I urge you to review my free Guide to a Good Night's Sleep.

MSNBC October 17, 2005

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