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Prescription sleep medicine linked to motor vehicle collisions in older adults and women

Date:
February 17, 2016
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
Aged drivers and women using prescription sleep medicines at higher risk for motor vehicle collisions, report investigators. In the overall sample, the unadjusted 5-year motor vehicle collision rate was 46 percent higher for current zolpidem users versus nonusers. More specifically, the unadjusted 5-year motor vehicle collision rate was 65 percent higher for females and 23 percent higher in males who used zolpidem.
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Symptoms and alternatives to sleep medication.
Credit: UAB News

A recent study by University of Alabama at Birmingham student assistant John Booth, III, and UAB Department of Epidemiology Professor and Vice Chair Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., published in Sleep Medicine linked the use of prescription sleep medicines containing zolpidem among aged drivers and the incidence of motor vehicle collisions.

"Due to the side effects of such drugs -- including drowsiness upon waking and impaired coordination, current zolpidem users age 80 and older, as well as those who are female, experienced higher rates of MVCs than nonusers," said Booth, a Ph.D. candidate in UAB's Department of Epidemiology. "We recommend that health care practitioners consider proposing behavioral treatment before prescribing zolpidem to restore sleep in women and patients over age 80 to reduce the risk of MVCs associated with this prescription drug."

In the overall sample, the unadjusted 5-year motor vehicle collision rate was 46 percent higher for current zolpidem users versus nonusers. More specifically, the unadjusted 5-year motor vehicle collision rate was 65 percent higher for females and 23 percent higher in males who used zolpidem. For those 80 years of age and older, the unadjusted 5-year motor vehicle collision rate was 124 percent higher for zolpidem users compared with nonusers.

According to the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, possible treatment alternatives to sleep medications include relaxation techniques, melatonin supplements, mind and body approaches such as meditation, as well as stimulus control such as consistent sleep schedules, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

A total of 2,000 north central Alabama zolpidem users, age 70 and up, who had driven within the previous three months and held a valid driver's license were studied. The researchers evaluated each participant's five-year MVC history, obtained from the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and then estimated at-fault MVC rate ratios by comparing zolpidem users' and nonusers' data in age- and sex-defined subgroups.


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Original written by Alicia Rohan. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John N. Booth, Michael Behring, Ryan S. Cantor, Lisandro D. Colantonio, Sherri Davidson, John P. Donnelly, Erica Johnson, Kelsey Jordan, Chelsea Singleton, Fenglong Xie, Gerald McGwin. Zolpidem use and motor vehicle collisions in older drivers. Sleep Medicine, 2015; DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.12.004

Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Prescription sleep medicine linked to motor vehicle collisions in older adults and women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160217181254.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2016, February 17). Prescription sleep medicine linked to motor vehicle collisions in older adults and women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160217181254.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Prescription sleep medicine linked to motor vehicle collisions in older adults and women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160217181254.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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