Icelanders take two to three times the amount of sleeping pills used by people elsewhere in the Nordic countries. The Directorate of Health has raised concern about the effects of excessive pharmaceutical use, ruv.is reports.
An article entitled “Are some drugs overused in Iceland?” was published in the latest issue of the Icelandic Medical Journal. In 2012, Icelanders’ use of so-called Z-drugs, used in the treatment of insomnia, was five times higher than that of the Danes, who come in last on the list.
The article’s authors raise concern about the potential impacts and point to the fact that such drugs are only intended for short-term used—for two to four weeks. However, the study found that some people are taking the drugs for months or even years. Overuse can lead to addiction and tolerance development and stopping sleeping pill use suddenly can lead to serious health consequences.