Which sleeping pills are not addictive

Sleeping pills

Sleeping pills (Sleep medication, hypnotics) appear as easy-to-use aids in the case of sleep disorders, in order to enable the body to take the necessary recovery phases. The reality is different, however, because all available drugs can induce sleep in sufficient doses, but they worsen the quality of sleep and lead to an hourly sufficient but less restful sleep. Many substances have an effect until the next day, which can lead to fatigue, dizziness or circulatory problems. In addition, the risk of habituation and psychological dependence is very high, especially with the particularly effective remedies. Sleep pills are therefore best suited for short-term sleep problems, such as those that occur before operations, psychologically stressful appointments or acute pain problems. They can also be useful in the early stages of sleep medicine therapy. You should therefore not reject them in principle, but pay attention to the correct handling so that they can work optimally and the negative consequences are kept as low as possible.

Benzodiazepines. For a long time market-leading agents that are still prescribed millions of times today. The professional associations assume that around a third of the regulations are based on addictive behavior that has already occurred. Its serious disadvantage is the rapid development of addiction. After just a few days of taking benzodiazepines, discontinuing benzodiazepines leads to nightmares, anxiety and / or extensive insomnia. Older patients who take benzodiazepines for the first time can also experience a paradoxical effect at higher doses - instead of relaxation, excitement and restlessness occur.

Note: Benzodiazepines increase the risk of falls at night because they relax the muscles and make breathing worse. They are therefore particularly risky in old age and with chronic lung diseases.

Benzodiazepine agonists (Non-benzodiazepines) have a different chemical structure than benzodiazepines, but have a similar effect. This group includes zolpidem (Zolpidem ct®), zopiclone (e.g. Ximovan®) or zaleplon (Sonata®), which is why they are also known as Z substances designated. Although they have replaced the benzodiazepines as the most prescribed substances, their superiority is not certain. According to more recent studies, they do not differ from the benzodiazepines in terms of effectiveness, side effects or addiction potential.

In order to circumvent the dependency problem of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine agonists, are sometimes used as well Antidepressants, z. B. Trimipramine, Mianserin, prescribed. Antidepressants are not addictive, but they also worsen the sleep structure and suppress dream sleep.

Neuroleptics are also sometimes helpful in solving sleep problems in older people. For people in whom it can be observed that benzodiazepines have a paradoxical effect (i.e. they become excited and more alert due to these drugs), Melperon (Eunerpan®) has proven itself in acute therapy.

Also Antihistaminessuch as the active ingredients diphenhydramine or doxylamine, which are actually used to treat allergic reactions, lead to fatigue. In some cases, these are used as sleeping pills. Although they do not require a prescription, they still have side effects and should only be taken for a short time.

The negative side effects of antihistamines include impaired performance, problems with vision, problems with digestion and urination, and increased UV sensitivity of the skin. That is why antihistamines should only be used with extreme caution in summer and when using sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 50 at the same time. Antihistamines should ideally only be taken after consulting a doctor. They are not particularly suitable for prostate problems and glaucoma.

Painkiller are another frequently prescribed alternative. They are useful when there is actually persistent pain that disrupts sleep, e.g. B. Chronic hip pain. The duration of their use is usually limited by the frequent side effects.

Note: You should only take painkillers after consulting your doctor, even if - especially abroad - more and more substances are freely available for sale. It is not recommended to take it for more than four weeks without prior medical consultation.

Phytotherapeutic agents to promote sleep. Medicinal herbs with a relaxing, sleep-inducing effect, which are commercially available in the form of sleep teas, capsules or drops, have proven themselves in the case of temporary sleep disorders. Preparations with standardized active ingredients for ingestion (e.g. in capsule or drop form) are superior to tea preparations in terms of effectiveness. The sleep-promoting effect of hops, valerian and passion flower has been scientifically proven. B. Hova®, Ivel® or Euvegal® N.

In addition, preparations with passionflower and lavender can also be taken. In all cases, the dosage should not be chosen too low, although alcohol and other drugs can increase the effect.


Dr. med Arne Schäffler | last changed on at 15:53