The prevalence of the use of sleeping pills by elderly people has been more than 40 percent for a decade, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday said, urging people to be aware of drug dependence.
Regular use of sleeping pills by elderly people is associated with a higher risk of bone fractures, a psychiatrist said.
FDA Division of Controlled Drugs Deputy-Director Liu Shu-fen (劉淑芬) said National Health Insurance data from 2013 showed that among 2.69 million elderly people, about 1.09 million — close to 41 percent — have taken sleeping pills. That number is estimated to have grown to more than 1.17 million this year.
“The prevalence rate is about 3 times that of people aged between 25 and 44 and about 1.5 times higher than people aged between 45 and 64,” she said, adding that many elderly people take sleeping pills because of other illnesses that cause insomnia, but some might have developed addictions.
She said commonly used sleeping pills include benzodiazepines and z-drugs such as, Zolpidem, Zopiclone and Zaleplon, which not only help patients fall asleep, but can also serve as antidepressants and muscle relaxants, but could have side effects including dizziness, headache, daytime drowsiness and slowed reaction times.
He said elderly people taking high doses of sleeping pills or taking more than two types of sleeping pills increase the risk of bone fractures due to drugs’ side affects.
Chang said a 73-year-old woman who had suffered from insomnia for more than a month bought sleeping pills without a prescription and took more than two before falling asleep. On waking she was unable to stand properly and fractured her hipbone in a fall, Chang said.
Liu said sleeping pills are controlled drugs and people should consult doctors before purchasing them.
Chang advised elderly patients who are taking sleeping pills, as well as their family members, to be more cautious.
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying: