Sleeping pills don’t provide enough extra sleep for older Canadians to warrant the risk of deadly side effects — and doctors and patients alike should think twice about their use, Dr. Wendy Levinson, chair of Choosing Wisely Canada, said today.
Nearly one third of older people take sleeping pills even though they have special risks for this age group, Dr. Levinson said. There are safer and better ways to improve sleep or reduce anxiety.
Sleeping pills affect the brain and spinal cord as sedative-hypnotics or tranquilizers. Side effects for seniors can range from next-day drowsiness to constipation and trouble urinating. They also can double the risk of falls and hip fractures which are common among seniors.
“The ads may promise lots of blissful sleep, but studies show those who use sleeping pills only sleep a little longer and better than those who don’t,” Dr. Levinson said. “Seniors and their doctors should look hard at nondrug treatments just as they should be holding healthy conversations generally about unnecessary testing and treatment.”
Nondrug treatments that should be discussed with physicians include everything from regular exercise to avoiding caffeine after 3 p.m., or earlier in some cases.
Dr. Levinson made the comments in conjunction with an announcement that 12 additional medical specialty societies and six new community partners have joined the Choosing Wisely Canada campaign. The new partners bring the number of specialty societies and community partners participating in the campaign to 21 and 6 respectively.
View full press release.
In an article entitled, “The right test at the right time: Striking the proper balance”, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) provides advice to Canadian physicians on stewardship, patient engagement and appropriate care. They make mention of Choosing Wisely Canada and say, “As part of the Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) campaign 9 national medical organizations have released lists of 40 tests, treatments, and procedures that patients do not need in all circumstances. The initiative is primarily intended to help doctors and their patients address unnecessary and possibly harmful over-testing and over-treating. Physicians are not obliged to follow the CWC recommendations in all cases but should familiarize themselves with the relevant list of tests and procedures. The CWC “think twice” recommendations are based on definitive evidence and were developed to spur dialogue between doctors and their patients and to support delivery of high quality medical care.”
To read the full article, please visit https://oplfrpd5.cmpa-acpm.ca/web/guest/-/the-right-test-at-the-right-time-striking-the-proper-balance
The Saskatchewan Medical Association devoted their Summer 2014 News Digest to Choosing Wisely Canada. Don’t miss:
- The President (Dr. Dalibor Slavik’s) Note, “Appropriateness and Choosing Wisely”, on pages 2 – 3, and article, “Choosing Wisely and the Unique Value of Physicians”, on pages 10 – 12
- SMA’s Past President, Dr. Clare Kozroski’s, thoughts on Choosing Wisely Canada on page 29
- The 12 page spread that includes all Wave 1 physician lists of recommendations on pages 30 – 41
To read the full issue, please visit https://www.sma.sk.ca/Default.aspx?cid=29&lang=1