When not to take sleeping pills

It seems hardly sensible to take sleeping pills at all when so many sleep problems can be solved by relaxation methods. Those who do take sleeping pills, however, should see them as temporary expedients, and a clear goal for stopping them should always be envisaged.

Bronchitics and patients with emphysema should not take sleeping pills at all, because the drugs are always liable to depress their breathing centres. The elderly should not take sleeping pills either. Old people eliminate all drugs less effectively than the young. In many cases elderly people who seem confused are confused because they are battling their way through an ‘azepam fog’ at times when they should be alert. The elderly too may be unsteady on their feet, and the part that sedative drugs play in causing the horror of severe fractures in the elderly has never been accurately sought out. It is, in all probability, quite considerable.

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