In Australia, growing off-label use of anti-psychotic drugs as sleep aids is causing safety concerns, reports Financial Review.

Now general practitioners, noting how effective the drugs can be, are prescribing them in small doses to treat insomnia in patients who don’t have mental illness.

This is unregulated and while the side effects of anti-psychotics are well known at high doses, there is no solid evidence to show they are safe in low doses.

People respond differently to the drugs and because they become habituated to the effect, dose escalation is a real risk.