Narrator: This is Science Today. Using sleeping
pills to alleviate sleeping problems or anxiety
is only supposed to be for short-term use, but studies
indicate about two-thirds of the market is going
to long-term users. Because of this, Daniel Kripke,
a professor of psychiatry at the University of California,
San Diego says there should be more research conducted
on long-term usage.
Kripke: The effects on the long-term user
are almost never studied and physicians would be
better guided if they had more information from
which to work.
Narrator: Kripke has conducted previous studies
that found there's an increased risk of death associated
with long-term use of sleeping pills.
Kripke: We found that people who said they
were taking sleeping pills every night of the month
were more likely to have died after six years than
people who didn't take them. And the increased risk
of death with taking sleeping pills every night
was about the same as the increased risk of smoking
one or two packs of cigarettes a day.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.