Hip fracture risk is tied to sleeping pills

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The class of sleeping medications thought to be safer for nursing home residents than traditional anti-anxiety drugs actually puts them at a 70% increased risk for hip fracture, a study suggests. Following a Medicare Part D change in 2006, physicians started prescribing sleeping pills such as Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata for nursing home residents with insomnia, instead of older benzodiazepines, according to researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The newer sleeping pills were thought to be safer, researchers noted. But in a study of 26,618 nursing home residents who had lived in their facilities for at least six months before having a hip fracture, those taking non-benzodiazepine hypnotics had a 70% increased risk for a fracture. Additionally, the risk was even higher in residents with little or no cognitive impairment compared to those with significant cognitive impairment.

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