Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Zolpidem Increases Inpatient Falls, Study Finds

Use of the hypnotic agent zolpidem in inpatient hospital settings significantly increases the risk that a patient will fall. Reporting yesterday in the Early View Journal of Hospital Medicine, researchers based at the Mayo Clinic's Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, Minn., said that the fall rate among patients who were prescribed and received zolpidem was significantly greater than among patients who were prescribed but did not receive zolpidem. The patients who were taking zolpidem who experienced a fall did not differ from other hospitalized adult patients who fell in terms of age and use of opioids, antidepressants, sedative-antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepine, or antihistamines. "Zolpidem use was a strong, independent, and potentially modifiable risk factor for inpatient falls," they concluded. 

Researchers at the Scripps Clinic Viterbi Family Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif., recently found that patients with prescriptions for hypnotics such as zolpidem had approximately 4.6 times the hazard of dying over an average observation period of 2.5 years, compared with nonusers of these drugs. Read more about that study in the Journal Digest feature of Psychiatric News here

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