x ray of a broken hip with steel pins

Sleeping pills should be prescribed only with caution to older people. A case-crossover study of more than 15,000 nursing home residents in the US found that those taking “Z-drugs” as sleep aids were 66% more likely to suffer a broken hip during the 18 months of the study.

Z-drugs are the popular sleeping pills zolpidem (Ambien), eszopiclone (Lunesta) and zaleplon (Sonata). Older people with cognitive impairment were especially vulnerable to this complication. The investigators recommend greater caution in prescribing sleep medications to nursing home residents.

[JAMA Internal Medicine, online, March 4, 2013]

You will find information on the pros and cons of these and other sleep aids in our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. Non-drug approaches to defeating insomnia are also discussed.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. GSM

    I took Lunesta to help me sleep. After about a week, I developed severe heartburn. The heartburn woke me in the night, so the drug was not effective for good sleeping. Until I determined the cause of the heartburn, I was seriously thinking I should see a gastroenderologist.
    I have sleep apnea. With a bipap machine, I sleep about 4 hours a night. The sleep neurologist gave me the Lunesta prescription to lengthen the time of sleep.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.