Clinical Edge

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Anxiety Symptoms Linked with Sleeping Medications

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Sep 29; Harris, et al

Anxiety symptoms are significantly associated with sleeping medication use among US older adults, according to a recent study. Researchers also found that depressive symptoms, chronic conditions, and worse self-rated health are associated with sleeping medication use. As sleeping medications are associated with adverse health events, these results have clinical implications for treating anxiety symptoms among older patients. Researchers used data from the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study to examine the relationship between anxiety symptoms as rated by the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2 and self-reported sleeping medication use. They found:

  • In 2011, 13.1% of respondents experienced high anxiety symptoms and 29.0% reported taking a sleeping medication at least once a week during the last 30 days.
  • Approximately 4 million US older adults have clinically significant anxiety symptoms and approximately 10 million US older adults used a sleeping medication in the last 30 days.
  • Adjusted results revealed that high anxiety symptoms are significantly associated with sleeping medication use compared to low anxiety symptoms.
  • Depression symptoms were also associated with sleeping medication.


Harris D, McNicoll L, Epstein-Lubow G, Thomas KS. Association between anxious symptoms and sleeping medication use among US older adults. [Published online ahead of print September 29, 2017]. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. doi:10.1002/gps.4795.

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