The beneficial and adverse effects of hypnotics.
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Findings from a four-city study of the beneficial and adverse effects of hypnotics are reported. The study employed a new volunteer call-in method for monitoring drug effects outside of the clinical setting. Respondents were recruited through newspaper advertisements. They were invited to complete a short telephone interview if, during the past 12 months, they (1) had significant trouble with insomnia or (2) had taken a medication to induce sleep. Comparison groups were flurazepam, temazepam, triazolam, and over-the-counter (OTC) sleep medications. An untreated insomnia group also was included. Results indicate that most users of prescription hypnotics attributed positive effects to their sleep medications and that adverse effects were infrequent. OTC hypnotics were less effective and more likely to produce negative effects. The untreated insomnia group was more symptomatic than any of the medication groups.