Sleeping pills that kill?

Research finds sleep medication increases risk of death and cancer

The use of popularly prescribed sleeping medications has been linked to an increased risk of death and cancer, a recent study finds.

The report, published in the online journal BMJ Open and authored by researchers at the Viterbi Family Sleep Center at Scripps Health in San Diego, found that people who rely on sleep aids like Ambien and Restoril are increasing their risk of death by more than four times, according to Medical News Today. Research also found an increase in cancer and death among people who used the eight most popular sleeping medications no more than 18 times a year.

The study examined data from nearly 40,000 patients, including 10,529 patients who received soporific prescriptions and 23,676 control subjects who did not. The findings are especially relevant as the sleeping-aid sector of the pharmaceutical industry grew by 23 percent between 2006 and 2010, and between 6 and 10 percent of Americans took a hypnotic drug as a sleep aid in 2010.