Americans are taking more sleeping pills than ever before.
One in 10 Americans have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled last year, an increase of almost 60 percent over only five years.
More Than $300 Million
Drug companies spent over $300 million in 2005 to advertise sleep aids -- a more than four-fold increase over 2004. Sepracor, the manufacturers of Lunesta, advertised the most heavily, spending nearly $200 million all by themselves.
Sanofi-Aventis, the makers of Ambien, responded by doubling their ad spending for the previous year, to well over $100 million.
A Growing Market
Perhaps as a result, the market for "prescription sleep" drugs is growing:
- Over 213,000 doctors gave out a total of 3.3 million prescriptions for Lunesta last year
- Sanofi-Aventis is beginning to push doctors and patients away from Ambien, on which the patent is expiring, and over to "new and improved" Ambien CR
- Rozerem, produced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, debuted in America last fall but has had a low profile so far
- Pfizer and Neurocrine Biosciences are negotiating with the FDA to introduce Indiplon by the summer
Experts worry that the drugs are being used without enough attention being paid to side effects, or the underlying conditions that may be causing sleeplessness in the first place.
Despite more signs patients may be turning away from the poor excuse that passes for conventional health care in <st1:country-region>America</st1:country-region> and gravitating toward natural, safer treatments, when push comes to shove, many of them still rely far too often on one-pill-cures.
We have a long way to go to turn our culture around. Taking control of your sleeping habits is one of the best places to start, as a good night's sleep is one of the most important habits you can have to achieve optimal wellness and control your weight.
However, you will absolutely need to guard yourself against the drug manufacturers, as they are clearly not blind to the opportunity here. They certainly recognize a good market when they see it. Sepracor is spending huge amounts so that Lunesta can compete with Ambien, and raking in huge profits as a result.
If you are one of the 58 percent of Americans who struggle with getting a full night of sleep, I suggest reading my Secrets to Getting a Good Night's Sleep Guide .
Whether you are not able to fall asleep, wake up too often, or don't feel well-rested when you wake up in the morning, my guidelines will provide you with various useful techniques to improve these problems. Some of my recommendations include: