Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jumping Rope with Abe Lincoln and a Groundhog

We've all seen the commercials and print ads for Rozerem, and you must admit how clever you think they are. Also, we've probably all encountered difficulty with sleeping, sometimes days-sometimes a few weeks at a time. I would be hard pressed to ever consider taking any sort of sleeping aid, prescription or OTC (with the exception of an occasional dose of Nyquil), but I have definetely experienced those bouts of poor sleeping. As our lives become increasingly busy and hectic, I think perhaps cutting back on caffeine and engaging in more physical activity (two things which are beneficial in more ways than just as sleep aids) are more healthy and desirable alternatives to help get to sleep at night.

But I did appreciate how some may feel inclined to take a sleep aid. Until now. The New Times published an article this week reporting that sleeping pills are really just mildly effective, that the newer drugs tested cut the time it took to fall asleep by only 12.8 minutes, and increased total sleep time by only 11.4 minutes. Is taking a prescription and ingesting more chemicals worth that? I don't think so.

And that is not all. The same article also reports that older prescription sleep aids such as Halcion and Restoril accounted for signicantly better results than the newer drugs. Yet another case of unneccessary "Me-too" drugs being overly marketed and preying on people who may be in a vulnerable state, in this case, sleep-deprived. As I mentioned above, most people find the Rozerem ads charming; they may march into the doctor's office and specifically request Rozerem. Note the Times article reports Americans spent $4.5 billion dollars on sleep aids last year.

Basically, sleeping pills don't really work, or rather, just aren't as effective as the American consumer is led to believe, according to the analysis. Pharmaceutical companies are latching onto our weaknesses and trying to tell us once again that it can all be solved in a little pill. And if Americans are spending that much money every year on sleeping pills, then it appears physicians are also throwing in the proverbial tower by prescribing these pills. Too bad these physicians can't be like the doctor in Fight Club who tells Tyler Durdan to "get more exercise and chew some valerium root, " instead of prescribing sleeping pills.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of a judgemental person, with absolutely NO personal experiences with insomnia making a ridiculous claim that "sleeping pills don't work" based solely on article she read in the NY times. I find your dismissive attitude repulsive and arrogant. From someone who has been afflicted w/this terrible disorder I can tell you sleeping pills DO WORK and have in fact, been a godsend for me. I went from being an unemployed secretary who couldnt hold a job because I couldnt do anything other than thinking about a nap at work to being a partner in a multi-million dollar business- in about 2 years after getting my sleeping problems under control.