Certain sleep aids may raise hip fracture risk in nursing homes
List includes common drugs such as Lunesta and Ambien, researchers say.
(HealthDay)—Health staff at nursing homes often give patients sleeping pills to help them sleep, but a new study suggests that a certain class of medications may put patients at raised risk for hip fractures.
A team from Harvard Medical School in Boston looked at more than 15,500 long-stay nursing-home residents, aged 50 and older, who suffered a hip fracture between July 2007 and December 2008. The residents' average age was 81.
About 1,700 of the residents had been given a nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic sleep drug before their hip fracture. This class of drugs includes Lunesta, Sonata, Ambien and Intermezzo.
Those who took nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic sleep drugs were about two-thirds more likely to suffer a hip fracture than those who didn't take the drugs, according to the study, published online March 4 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Although the study found an association between the use of the sleep medications and increased fracture risk, it wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. The risk was somewhat higher among new users of the drugs, as well as nursing-home residents who had mild mental or physical decline (compared to more severe mental- or physical-health issues).
"Caution should be exercised when prescribing sleep medications to nursing-home residents," said Dr. Sarah Berry, of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues.
More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about hip fractures.
Journal reference: JAMA Internal Medicine
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