“One of the classic uses of benzodiazepines is as sleeping pills, but this usage also does more harm than good,” writes Prof. Peter C. Gotzsche, MD in Chapter 4 titled Anxiety of his excellent book Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial.
“The trials are biased, and a meta-analysis found that after adjustment for this, patients at least 60 years of age with insomnia slept 15 minutes longer on benzodiazepines or similar drugs than on placebo,” Prof. Gotzsche continues.
“Adverse cognitive events were five times [5X] more common, adverse psychomotor events three times [3X] more common, and daytime fatigue four times [4X] more common than if the patients received placebo.
“After a few weeks, the pills don’t work any longer and all that is left are the harmful effects.
Patients who took such drugs had a higher risk of falls – which cause many deaths because of hip fractures – and motor vehicle crashes.
“A study showed that benzodiazepines doubled the risk of injurious falls in people at least 80 years of age; these falls cause almost 1,800 deaths every year in France.
“In another large cohort, benzodiazepines or Z drugs [Zaleplon (Sonata), Zolpidem tartrate (Ambien), Zopiclone (brand names Zimovane and Imovane)] doubled the death rate.”
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