HealthDay News — Consumption of sleeping pills is linked to a subsequent increase in the number of antihypertensive drugs taken among older adults, according to a study published online March 25 in Geriatrics & Gerontology International.

Ana Hernández-Aceituno, M.D., from the University Autonoma of Madrid, and colleagues examined the association of sleep quality or duration and the use of sleeping pills with the number of antihypertensive drugs used in 752 older adults (≥60 years) followed from 2008-2010 through 2012-2013.

The researchers found that mean sleep duration was 6.9 hours per day, 37 percent of participants had poor sleep quality, 16.5 percent usually consumed sleeping pills, and the mean number of antihypertensive drugs used was 1.8. During follow-up, 20.7 percent of patients increased the number of antihypertensive drugs they were taking. There was no association between sleep duration or quality and change in antihypertensive drug use. There was an association between usual sleeping pill consumption and a higher risk for increasing (compared with decreasing/maintaining) the number of antihypertensive drugs (odds ratio, 1.85).

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“‘Sleeping pill use’ might be an indicator of future needs of antihypertensive treatment and a warning indicator to investigate underlying sleep disorders or unhealthy lifestyles,” the authors write.

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