Prescription Medicines (cont.)
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Minor Tranquilizers and Sleeping Pills
Some minor tranquilizers (such as Valium and Xanax) and sleeping pills (such as Ambien and Sonata) are widely prescribed. But these medicines can cause problems such as memory loss, addiction, and loss of balance. In rare cases, people who use them have done things like drive or eat while they're still asleep. These medicines also can cause a serious allergic reaction. So it's important to use them with caution.
Minor tranquilizers can be useful if you use them for a short time. But long-term use often isn't very helpful, and it increases the risk of addiction and mental problems.
Sleeping pills may help for a few days or a few weeks. But if you use them for more than a month, they are likely to cause more sleep problems than they solve. For other options, see the topic Insomnia or Sleeping Better.
If you have been taking minor tranquilizers or sleeping pills for a while, talk with your doctor. Ask if you can stop taking the medicine or if you can gradually take less of it over time. If you have felt unsteady or dizzy, have had any memory loss, or have had signs of an allergic reaction, tell your doctor.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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