Sleeping pills linked to increased risk of heart failure, driving impairment

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – Insomniacs should cut back on sleeping pills as new studies found the medication likely to increase risks of heart failure and car accidents.

As study led by Dr. Masahiko Setoguchi of the Social Insurance Central General Hospital in Tokyo, Japan and presented at the Heart Failure Congress 2014 in Athens, Greece says that sleeping problems are a common side effect of heart failure such that patients with the condition are prescribed sleeping pills when they are discharged from the hospital.

Ironically, the same study involving patients with diastolic and systolic heart failure revealed that patients with diastolic heart failure (HFpEF ) and were prescribed sleeping pills were eight times more likely to experience hospital readmission for heart failure or suffer cardiovascular-related death, compared with HFpEF patients who were not prescribed sleeping medication.

“The main finding of our study is that HFpEF patients prescribed sleeping pills have an increased risk of cardiovascular events,” said Setoguchi. “The number of HFpEF patients is increasing and becoming a larger proportion of heart failure patients overall. Our results therefore are of growing relevance to heart failure patients and the professionals who treat them.”

In a related development, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on May 15 that people prescribed the sleeping pill Lunesta should be starting with half the current recommended dose as more than that could cause drowsiness while driving. The FDA suggested taking one instead of two milligrams of Lunesta and directed the pill’s manufacturer, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, to change its labels accordingly.

“Using lower doses means less of the drug will remain in the blood in the morning hours, reducing the risk that people who take it will be impaired while driving. The dose can later be increased to two or three milligrams if needed,” FDA said.

Last year, the agency also recommended taking half doses of Ambien and other sleeping pills that contain zolpidem to prevent next-day sleepiness and car accidents.

With the dangers associated with sleeping pills, an alternative to dealing with insomnia would be aromatherapy. Researchers at the Wesleyan University in Connecticut found that the fragrance of lavender or in combination with basil and neroli increased deep, restful sleep for both men and women. Aside from lavender, essential oils such as sweet marjoram, sandalwood, frankincense and sage stimulate the body to produce serotonin that induces relaxation and sleep.

Aromatherapy can be done at home using “Home Spa Shower Spray” which comes in eucalyptus, tangerine, pink grapefruit and lavender. The four scents are used in spa’s around the world

Home Spa Shower Spray is manufactured by Los Angeles-based consumer packaged goods company Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc. (OTC: PSHR).

An effective treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that have a negative impact on your sleep.

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