Narrator: This is Science Today. Regular users of prescription sleeping pills are three times more likely to die within six years than non-users. Dr. Daniel Kripke, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, says his study found even occasional sleeping pill users were at risk.
Kripke: The increased risk was in all causes of death. We know that there was a greatly increased risk of suicide, seven times as much risk in men. But all causes of death were increased, except perhaps homicide risk. We haven't finished examining the specific causes of death yet and that's an exciting area to look at further.
Narrator: The risk of death was found to be about equivalent to those who smoke one to two packs of cigarettes a day.
Kripke: But the pattern persists probably because of commercial considerations and probably because people don't realize the harm involved.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.