Sleeping Pills and Obesity Combined Increases Risk for Death

sleep apnea

(Best Syndication News) Obesity and the use of sleeping pills can increase the risk of death, according to a research presented at an American Heart Association session in San Diego.

Obese patients who take sleeping pills are more vulnerable than non-obese patients taking the same sleeping pills. Daniel Kripke, M.D., a psychiatrist with Scripps Clinic's Viterbi Family Sleep Center in San Diego, said the increased risk could be due to sleep apnea.

Obese people suffer from a higher rate of sleep apnea because soft fatty tissue can block the airway when they sleep. Many sleep apnea patients are told to avoid alcohol and muscle relaxants. Men are more prone to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

"The associations between sleeping pills and increased mortality were present, and relatively stronger, even in people aged 18 to 54," said Dr. Langer, a family physician and epidemiologist with the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine in Jackson, Wyo.

One extra death per year for every 100 people prescribed sleeping pills can be associated with obese patients. Men had twice the rate of death as women, according to the new research.

The Scripps Clinic study, which included 40,000 participants, was the first to show that eight of the most commonly used hypnotic drugs were associated with increased hazards of mortality and cancer, including the popularly prescribed medications zolpidem (known by the brand name Ambien) and temazepam (also known as Restoril).

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

Image: Diagram of obstructive sleep apnea airway blockage

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