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Psychosom Med. 1991 Jan-Feb;53(1):101-8.

Regular hypnotic drug treatment in a sample of 32,679 Swedes: associations with somatic and mental health, inpatient psychiatric diagnoses and suicide, derived with automated record-linkage.

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  • 1Karolinska Institutet, Department of Psychiatry, Huddinge University Hospital, Sweden.


We studied Swedish survey responders who reported regular treatment with hypnotic drugs, to find associations to perceived health problems, inpatient psychiatric diagnoses, and subsequent suicide. Among 32,679 sampled Swedes, 26,952 (83%) participated, 500 of which (2%) reported regular hypnotic drug treatment. The rate of treatment was higher in women, and increased by age in both sexes. The major findings were high odds of concurrent psychoactive drug treatments, nervous symptoms and insomnia, as well as high rates of circulatory and musculoskeletal conditions in both sexes, with indicators of disability and sleep-disturbing symptoms. During a 15-year period, 35% of the men and 21% of the women who reported regular hypnotic drug treatment had also been admitted to inpatient psychiatric care. Substance abuse was diagnosed in 20% of the men and 4.3% of the women reporting hypnotic drug treatment. In multiple logistic regression models, the highest odds for regular hypnotic drug treatment were incurred by recent/current insomnia, nervous symptoms, and other psychoactive drug treatment. We conclude that therapy was principally given according to some current peer guidelines. Yet, further research is needed into the risk/benefit ratio of sustained hypnotic drug therapy in patients with qualifying somatic and psychiatric disorders to obtain a more uniformly based consensus.

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