More Young Adults Using Sleep Aids

The use of prescription sleep aids by 18- to 24-year olds nearly tripled between 1998 and 2006, according to medical and drug claims data from the Thomson Reuters MarketScan Research databases.

During that period, the average length of time sleep aids were used by adults under age 45 increased by more than 40 percent — rising from 64 days in 1998 to 93 days in 2006.

What’s the cause of these sleepless nights?

“Insomnia appears to be causing larger numbers of young adults to turn to prescription sleep aids. They tend to use them for longer periods of time,” says William Marder, PhD, senior vice president and general manager of the Thomson Reuters health care business.

The most dramatic increase was in the 18-to-24 age population, whose prevalence of use increased from 599 users per 100,000 in 1998 to 1,524 per 100,000 in 2006. For those 24 to 34, use almost doubled from 1,372 to 2,528 per 100,000.