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Review: sedative hypnotics may improve sleep quality but increase adverse effects in elderly people with insomnia

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Q What are the benefits and risks of short term use of sedative hypnotics for insomnia in elderly people?


Embedded ImageData sources:

Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Cochrane Clinical Trials database, and PsycLIT (1966–2003); bibliographies of published reviews; and 3 manufacturers of sedative hypnotics (unpublished studies).

Embedded ImageStudy 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 …

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  • * Calculated from data in article.

  • For correspondence: Dr U E Busto, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. usoa_busto{at}

  • Source of funding: no external funding.