My friend Pilly Galore would be delighted to read that GPs are continuing to prescribe lots of sleeping pills to elderly people. (See my earlier blogs by clicking in the TAG CLOUD on PILLS).
Around 10 million sleeping pill prescriptions are issued every year. I think it is the “go away” pill for GPs who don’t take the time to find out why people are not sleeping. The problem is that these pills don’t just make you sleep, they can also lead to increased falls and fractures. They are intended as a short-term intervention but up to 30% of patients remain on them for the long-term.
Two thirds of insomnia sufferers have never had their drugs reviewed, nor have they been offered alternative treatments such as relaxation techniques, sleep education or psychological therapy.
80% of insomnia patients, half of whom were over 65, rated their quality of sleep while taking sleeping pills was bad or very bad and half reported suffering from tiredness during the day.
The NHS spends £50 million every year on sleeping pills !