Rx Sleep Aid Use Growing Rapidly

Published Online: Thursday, December 1, 2005

The use of sleep medication and the cost associated with the prescription drugs are climbing, especially among the younger population. In a 4-year period (between 2000 and 2004), sleep medication use doubled for adults aged 20 to 44. The group also showed a 190% jump in money spent for a restful night over that period. An even more surprising result from the study was the number of children aged 10 to 19 who use sleep aids. The use of sleep medication went up by 85%, and spending soared by 223% over 2000 levels for that group.

Conducted by Medco Health Solutions, the analysis from the first 6 months of 2004 revealed that 15% of children taking sleep medication also were taking drugs to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. It was unclear, however, whether the disorder or the medication treating it was the cause of the sleep problems. Women are more likely to use sleep aids, compared with men. The data showed a 58% higher rate among women aged 20 to 64.

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