Over-the-counter and prescription sleep medication and incident stroke: the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Preliminary evidence suggests sleep medications are associated with risk of vascular events; however, the long-term vascular consequences are understudied. This study investigated the relation between sleep medication use and incident stroke. METHODS: Within the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke study, 21,678 black participants and white participants (≥45 years) with no history of stroke were studied. Participants were recruited from 2003 to 2007. From 2008 to 2010, participants self reported their prescription and over-the-counter sleep medication use over the past month. Suspected stroke events were identified by telephone contact at 6-month intervals and associated medical records were retrieved and physician-adjudicated. Proportional hazards analysis was used to estimate hazard ratios for incident stroke associated with sleep medication use (0, 1-14, and 15+ days per month) controlling for sociodemographics, stroke risk factors, mental health symptoms, and sleep apnea risk. RESULTS: At the sleep assessment, 9.6% of the sample used prescription sleep medication and 11.1% used over-the-counter sleep aids. Over an average follow-up of 3.3 ± 1.0 years, 297 stroke events occurred. Over-the-counter sleep medication use was associated with increased risk of incident stroke in a frequency-response relationship (P = .014), with a 46% increased risk for 1-14 days of use per month (hazards ratio [HR] = 1.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], .99-2.15) and a 65% increased risk for 15+ days (HR = 1.65; 95% CI, .96-2.85). There was no significant association with prescription sleep medications (P = .80). CONCLUSIONS: Over-the-counter sleep medication use may independently increase the risk of stroke beyond other risk factors in middle-aged to older individuals with no history of stroke.
  • Keywords

  • REGARDS Study, Sleep medication, over-the-counter, sleeping pills, stroke, African Continental Ancestry Group, Aged, Drug Utilization, European Continental Ancestry Group, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Hypnotics and Sedatives, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Nonprescription Drugs, Predictive Value of Tests, Prescription Drugs, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Self Report, Sleep, Stroke, Time Factors
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Petrov ME; Howard VJ; Kleindorfer D; Grandner MA; Molano JR; Howard G
  • Start Page

  • 2110
  • End Page

  • 2116
  • Volume

  • 23
  • Issue

  • 8