Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Pushing Sleeping Pills - Beware!

From two excellent blogs come these comments:

Sleep for Sale: Is insomnia the next big disease needing drug therapy?

...an interesting article(http://www.motherjones.com/news/outfront/2005/01/12_402.html) on the marketing of sleeping pills for the weary and whether it's going to be an example of overblown pharmaceutical company advertising in the near future. The main problem, as I see it, is that the benefits of these drugs are surprisingly modest and will no doubt be exaggerated in the marketing campaigns. Also, two out of the three new drugs are related to Ambien (http://www.ambien.com/), which has some problems of its own, mainly if the patient takes it too soon before wanting to go to sleep, as it can cause confusion and amnesia(http://sleepdisorders.about.com/od/medication/a/ambieneffects.htm) if you take it and stay awake.

Feeding the vicious cycle

Each generation of sleeping pills is relatively homogenous and faces common clinical and regulatory barriers. So, the makers of zolpidem, zopiclone, and zaleplon face similar challenges even though their competing fiercely with each other for market share.
The following set of quasi-incommensurable messages provides a veritable smorgasbord of rationales for prescribing the maximum number of sleeping pills to the broadest segment of the population for the longest period of time.


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