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Sleeping Pills Increase CV Events in Heart Failure Patients By 8-Fold, Study Finds

Update Date: May 17, 2014 10:07 AM EDT

Sleeping pills increase the risk of cardiovascular events in heart failure patients by as much as 8-fold, according to a new research. 

Researchers examined the medical records of more than 100 heart failure patients. They followed them up for 180 days after they were discharged from hospital. 

"Sleeping problems are a frequent side effect of heart failure and it is common for patients to be prescribed sleeping pills when they are discharged from hospital. They also have other comorbidities and may be prescribed diuretics, antiplatelets, antihypertensives, anticoagulants and anti-arrhythmics," said Dr Masahiko Setoguchi, in the press release.

"Cardiac function of heart failure patients worsens with repeated hospitalisations. We therefore decided it was important to investigate the relationships between drugs prescribed at discharge, rehospitalization and cardiovascular events in heart failure patients."

For a discrete analysis, the subjects were divided into two separate groups. The one group of patients had heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) while the other group had heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). 

"Management and prognosis can vary between patients with HFpEF and HFrEF so we analyzed the two groups separately," said Dr Setoguchi. 

"Our study clearly shows that sleeping pills dramatically increase the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with HFpEF. The finding was consistent across univariate and multivariate analyses. Given that many heart failure patients have difficulty sleeping, this is an issue that needs further investigation in larger studies."

The study has been presented at the Heart Failure Congress 2014, being held in Athens, Greece. 

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