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Sleep. 1999 May 1;22(3):371-5.

Ten-year trends in the pharmacological treatment of insomnia.

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1
Unity Sleep Medicine and Research Center, St. Luke's Hospital, Chesterfield, Missouri 63017, USA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE:

To assess patterns of pharmacological treatment of insomnia during the period 1987-1996.

DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS:

Data were obtained from the National Disease and Therapeutic Index (NDTI; IMS America, Ltd., Plymouth Meeting, PA) which samples office-based physicians in 24 specialties. Drug mentions, a measure of patient contacts in which drug therapy is recommended, with a physician-indicated desired action of "promote sleep" or "sedative night" were compiled for each year. Z-scores were calculated to determine statistical differences over time for total drug mentions, drug mentions by category (hypnotics, non-hypnotic benzodiazepines, antidepressants, or other), and for some individual drugs.

RESULTS:

Total drug mentions for the treatment of insomnia fell 24.4% from 1987 to 1996. From 1987 to 1996 hypnotic mentions decreased 53.7%, antidepressants increased 146%, "other" drugs decreased by 63.2%, and benzodiazepine non-hypnotics remained relatively unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS:

Since 1987, overall pharmacological treatment of insomnia has decreased substantially although surveys indicate a stable or increasing prevalence of sleep disturbance. There has also been a dramatic shift to use of antidepressants in lieu of hyponotics for the symptomatic treatment of insomnia despite a paucity of data regarding their efficacy and the potential for serious side effects.

PMID:
10341388
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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