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Q What are the benefits and risks of short term use of sedative hypnotics for insomnia in elderly people?
Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Cochrane Clinical Trials database, and PsycLIT (1966–2003); bibliographies of published reviews; and 3 manufacturers of sedative hypnotics (unpublished studies).
Study selection and assessment:
English language randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared treatment with sedative hypnotics (prescription or over the counter drugs) for ⩾5 consecutive nights with placebo or another active treatment in people ⩾60 years of age who met predetermined criteria for insomnia. Studies had to exclude patients with psychiatric disorders or severe or acute physical illness that could disrupt sleep; ensure that participants were cognitively able to perform the subjective outcome assessment; and include a washout period between previous drug treatments. Studies of barbiturates or chloral hydrate or …
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