Alzheimer’s … the culprits … sleeping pills … tranquilisers … anti-depressants … ?

A French professor in Pharmacology has found a link between Alzheimer’s and sleeping pills, tranquilisers and anti-depressants – collectively known as psychotropes. This is the first time that such a link has been made and it is the result of research undertaken over several years which involved 3777 patients aged over 65 who were on […]

Prof Bernard Begaud

A French professor in Pharmacology has found a link between Alzheimer’s and sleeping pills, tranquilisers and anti-depressants – collectively known as psychotropes.

This is the first time that such a link has been made and it is the result of research undertaken over several years which involved 3777 patients aged over 65 who were on prescription medication to sleep, ease their anxiety or to rid them of les bleus – the blues.

The French are known to suffer from les bleus more than any other European nation. They consume 120 million boxes annually of psychotropes.

The research was led by Prof Bernard Bégaud, (Bernard, François, Jean-Marie), 52, head of Unit 657 in Pharmacoepidemiology of Inserm– Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherce Médicale (National Institute of Health and Medical Research). The unit is based at the University of Bordeaux.

A 2003 study led by the professor had already revealed that each year 15 million French took refuge in a psychotrope. That was five times more than the British, four times more than the Germans, three times more than the Dutch and 1.6 times more than the Italians. Further analysis showed that French women took twice as many as men – especially if they were older than 60. Even teenagers were on psychotropes: a quarter of France’s girls and a fifth of the boys had been prescribed the drugs even before they had turned 18.

The professor then said that the French had every reason to be happy but:  “… they actually complain all the time. It’s a culture of intolerance, individualism and never being satisfied.”

In 82 per cent of cases here in France it is the general practitioner who issues the prescription. Favourites are Valium, Xanax and Lexomil.

There are 860,000 Alzheimer sufferers in France, and globally approximately 36 million people are sufferers.  According to the professor each year between 16,000 and 31,000 new cases of the illness are caused by a long-term use of a psychotrope.

 

 

 

 

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

3 Responses to “Alzheimer’s … the culprits … sleeping pills … tranquilisers … anti-depressants … ?”

  1. 3
    Marilyn Z. Tomlins Says:

    Elizabeth,

    I am not qualified to advise you on what to do about your sister. Maybe you should speak to your niece about her mother’s memory loss. I hope for her sake and for you all that it is not Alzheimer’s.

  2. 2
    Elizabeth Says:

    There is no history of Alzheimer’s in my family. During her late forties and into he fifties a sister of mine has been on and off psychotropes (sometime antidepressants, sometimes sleeping pills) after a failed marriage.

    I have recently become worried about her. Last year she asked me which day Christmas fell on. I thought she meant which day of the week. She meant which DATE did it fall on. When I actually saw her next and I mentioned when she had taken sleeping pills, she said to her recollection she had never taken sleeping pills.

    Now, I don’t know how much of this is either lack of veracity or memory. Some things, like Christmas, seem impossible to forget; and other things, like taking sleeping pills, may just be lying…or forgetting?

    These are just two examples. I am concerned about her, but she has increasingly begun to isolate herself from our family and since she lives quite a distance away I don’t even know what to think.

    I have a relationship with her only child, my niece. Should I make inquiries?

  3. 1
    Jo Wake Says:

    Interesting Marilyn, its an illness which has always worried me as there is a history in my family.

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