Health Day - ONLINE EDITION

Sleeping Pill Use Tied to Poorer Survival for Heart Failure Patients

Study also found heightened odds for heart trouble in patients taking benzodiazepine sleep aids

  • Print

SATURDAY, May 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that the use of sleeping pills greatly increases the risk of serious heart problems and death in people with heart failure.

"Sleeping problems are a frequent side effect of heart failure and it is common for patients to be prescribed sleeping pills when they are discharged from hospital," study author Dr. Masahiko Setoguchi explained in a news release from the European Society of Cardiology.

However, "given that many heart failure patients have difficulty sleeping, this is an issue that needs further investigation in larger studies," he said.

In the study, the Japanese team examined the medical records of 111 heart failure patients admitted to a Tokyo hospital from 2011 to 2013. The patients were followed for up to 180 days after they left the hospital.

Patients who took sleeping pills -- drugs called benzodiazepine hypnotics -- were eight times more likely to be readmitted to hospital for heart failure or to die from heart-related causes than those who did not take sleeping pills, the researchers found.

While the study couldn't prove cause and effect, the researchers theorize that benzodiazepine sleeping pills may affect both heart function and breathing.

Heart failure patients "who use sleeping pills, particularly those who have sleep-disordered breathing, should be carefully monitored," Setoguchi concluded.

Findings presented at medical meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, one expert agreed that the findings are cause for concern.

"The results from this small, single-center study raise a potential alarm about the use of benzodiazepines in a heart failure population," said Dr. Sean Pinney, director of the advanced heart failure and cardiac transplant program at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

He noted that many of these patients are aged and have other illnesses, such as lung disease. Pinney noted that other reports have found a higher risk of serious adverse events, generally, in elderly people taking sleeping pills. The new findings, which focus on people with heart failure in particular, "suggest that it may be best to avoid these drugs in this vulnerable population," Pinney said.

The study was to be presented in Athens, Greece, on Saturday at the Heart Failure Congress, the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association and the European Society of Cardiology.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about heart failure.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

New Pornographers frontman says latest album is band's 'best'

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Weather Standup- Catching rays. Prairie Dog stretches out at Fort Whyte Centre. Fort Whyte has a Prairie Dog enclosure with aprox. 20 dogs young and old. 060607.
  • Susan and Gary Harrisonwalk their dog Emma on a peaceful foggy morning in Assiniboine Park – Standup photo– November 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do high-profile endorsements for political candidates influence your voting decisions?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google