Sleeping aid for young more common
More and more children in Sweden are being prescribed sleeping pills. The number of persons under the age of 19 using a sleeping aid increased from 5,170 in 2006 to 13,991 in 2011. This according to statistics ordered by daily Svenska Dagbladet from Socialstyrelsen (The National Board of Health and Welfare). The prescription drug Circadin is responsible for a large part of the increased usage of sleeping aids—in spite of the fact that Circadin is meant to be used by people 55 years and older, according to Mårten Gerle, an expert at Socialstyrelsen. Läkemedelsverket (The Medical Products Agency) does not recommend this particular drug for children, and there are no serious studies showing how children are affected by it. “This is quite a problem,” says Gerle to Svenska Dagbladet. “The studies haven’t shown if there might be other kinds of problems for children. From experience we know that there might be differences between adults and children, for instance when it comes to ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) medicine.” Other stronger drugs with the ingredient benzodiazepine (such as Valium and Sobril) and drugs with an ingredient similar to benzodiazepine (such as Stilnoct and Imovane) also increased nearly 150 percent and 13 percent respectively. The reason for the increase in prescriptions may be accessibility and a growing problem with sleep. But it may also be a change in the attitudes of the doctors who prescribe sleeping aids to children.