Some Prescription Sleep Medications Linked to Cancer

A new study shows that sleeping pills and aids may not be entirely safe. A new study published in the British medical publication BMJ Open shows that some individuals who use certain sleep drugs are more likely to develop cancer.

The medications in question are zolpidem (Ambien), temazepam (Restoril), eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zaleplon (Sonata). According to a story this week in the Los Angeles Times, 6% to 10% of Americans who use these prescription sleep pills are more likely to develop cancer and far more likely to die early as compared to those who do not use sleeping pills.

Compared with patients with no record of taking prescription sleeping pills, the study says, those who were the heaviest users of prescription sleep aids were 35% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer during the study period.

The study was conducted by the Scripps Clinic and the Jackson Hole Center for Preventive Medicine.