Newly prescribed sleeping pills double risk of hip fracture
Older people newly prescribed sleeping pills such as Z-drugs have twice the risk of a hip fracture in the first two weeks compared with non-users, says a study in PLOS-ONE.
The study of people aged over 65 years found that new users of these hypnotic medicines had nearly two and a half times the fracture rate, when compared with older people not taking hypnotics. An estimated 53% increase in fracture risk was identified in medium-term users (15 to 30 days), as well as a 20% increased risk of hip fracture in long-term users (greater than 30 days).
“While Z-drugs are fast becoming the doctor’s hypnotic prescription of choice, there is no evidence that they are a safer alternative to benzodiazepines in relation to hip fracture risk,” says Dr Ben Carter, who led the work. “Our study shows that both appear to significantly increase the risk of hip fracture when newly prescribed by doctors.
“Careful consideration of the immediate increased risk of hip fracture should inform the clinical decision-making process. Clinically effective measures like strength training to improve frailty, removal of hazards at home, visual correction and a medication review are also needed to mitigate the risk of hip fractures, particularly in the first few days of use.”
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