Americans Taking More Sleeping Pills Than Ever

Despite more signs patients may be turning away from the poor excuse that passes for conventional health care in America and gravitating toward natural, safer treatments, when push comes to shove, many of them still rely far too often on one-pill-cures. Case in point: Some 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled in 2005, an increase of nearly 60 percent over the past five years.

Drug manufacturers certainly recognize a good market when they see it, considering they spent nearly $300 million for the better part of last year convincing patients to take their health-harming sleep drugs. Sepracor led the pack, spending more than $185 up to the end of November last year to promote Lunesta to compete with Sanofi-Aventis’ Ambien. (Sanofi-Aventis doubled their ad budgets on Ambien to more than $100 million during the same period in 2005.)

Worse still, the market for “prescription sleep” is growing:

  • Sanofi-Aventis is pushing doctors and patients from their patent-expiring Ambien to “new and improved” Ambien CR.
  • Rozerem, produced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, debuted in America last fall but has had a low profile so far.
  • Pfizer and Neurocrine Biosciences are negotiating with the FDA, that bastion of drug safety, to introduce Indiplon by the summer.

Getting the right amount of sleep is a must if you want to optimize your health and fight obesity, and you don’t need a drug to help you get it.

New York Times February 7, 2006Registration Required

The (Lakeland, Fla.) Ledger February 7, 2006