Reported by Huang Chung-Chiu
The Taiwanese consume 338 million sleeping pills every year. About 1 million elderly people are using sedative-hypnotics for sleeping problems. The elderly are the biggest user group by age. A survey result showed that those who are using sedative-hypnotics are 20%-30% more likely to have a fall or a hip fracture.
The NHIA’s data showed that 338 million sleeping pills have been consumed every year. The data revealed that people over 65 years old were the heaviest user group of sedative-hypnotics. The most popular types of sedative-hypnotics are BZD and Z-drug. The TFDA’s analysis showed that people over 65 used sleeping pills 3 times more than those aged between 25 and 44.
Liu Shu-Feng, Deputy Section Chief of the Control Drug Division of the TFDA, said: “On average, the elderly use 1.5 times more sedative-hypnotics than those aged between 45 and 60, and 3 times more than those aged between 25 and 44. It means that the usage rate is positively associated with age.”
A further analysis revealed that those elderly patients who are using BZD type of sedative-hypnotics are 20%-30% more likely to have a fall or a hip fracture.
The analysis showed that Taiwan has a higher usage rate of BZD and Z-drug than other countries. The usage rate of BZD among the elderly in Taiwan is 37.2%-45.7%, and 5.4%-13.4% for Z-drug. These figures are about 3 times higher than those in the US, Canada and Australia.
Dr Chang Chia-Min of the Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital expressed that BZD and Z-drug are two common types of sedative-hypnotics for treating sleeping problems, depression, etc. They have side effects, such as dizziness, headache, drowsiness and slow reaction. Long-term use may lead to addiction. Doctors should be cautious about prescribing these drugs; and patients should use them with great care.
【2015-11-04/ BCC News 】