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Longer-Term Sleeping Pill Approved

Shows few signs of addictive side effects

THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Current sleeping pills shouldn't be used for more than seven to 10 days, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends, citing the possibility that their effects could wear off or the drugs could become addictive.

But the agency's approval Wednesday of the Sepracor drug Lunesta could change that. Patients who took the drug for six months during clinical trials reported no loss of effectiveness and few signs of addictive side effects, The New York Times reported.

The exact wording of the product's label hadn't been made public at press time, the newspaper said, so it was unclear how far the agency would go in relaxing the usual seven-to-10-day recommendation.

The National Sleep Foundation says more than 60 percent of Americans have trouble sleeping a few nights each week, according to a Sepracor statement. Some 35 million Americans obtained prescriptions for sleeping pills last year, the Times reported.

More information

To learn more about insomnia, visit the National Women's Health Information Center.

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