When they mix prescription medications with an over-the-counter sleep drug, older Americans are creating risky combinations, The Huffington Post reports.
A recent health and wellness survey shows that 35 percent of people 60 years or older take OTC sleep medications at least 20 days a month.  And 70 percent of them take OTC pain and sleep combination products, increasing the amount of the active ingredient in their system. This growing practice of self-medicating with OTC sleep products in an off-label way is alarming.
The risks and benefits of OTC sleep aids for the treatment of disturbed sleep in older adults have not been determined. When you add to this the probability that older adults may be taking prescription medications for a host of other age-related ailments, you have a possibly risky, if not deadly, combination.