New use of sleeping pills linked to higher risk of car crashes

A recent study has drawn a connection between new use of sedative hypnotics and higher risk of motor vehicle crashes. The new user cohort study involved more than 409,000 adults in an integrated health care system in Washington state. Researchers used proportional hazards regression to estimate the risk of crash associated with three sedatives. Nearly 6% of patients were given new sedative prescriptions, with 11,197 person–years of exposure. Compared with nonuse, new users of sedatives were linked to a greater risk of crashes. The risk estimates for the three drugs were equivalent to blood alcohol concentration levels of between 0.06% and 0.11%. The study authors suggest that clinicians prescribing new sedative hypnotics should take into account the duration of treatment and counseling on risk when driving. (Source:, APhA)