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Seniors in Taiwan rely on sedatives more than elsewhere: officials

Seniors in Taiwan rely on sedatives more than elsewhere: officials

Taipei, Nov. 4 (CNA) The use of tranquilizers among elderly people in Taiwan is more prevalent than in several developed countries and are prescribed primarily for insomnia in the over-64 age group, health officials said Wednesday. In Taiwan, 37.2 percent to 45.7 percent of people over the age of 64 take benzodiazepines (BZDs), a class of tranquilizers, while in Canada the figure is 12.1 percent to 17.5 percent, in the United States 12.3 percent, and in Australia 16.6 percent, said Chang Chia-ming (???), a psychiatrist at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. BZDs are usually prescribed for insomnia, anxiety agitation, seizures, muscle spasms and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Chang said. Liu Shu-fen (???), a deputy division chief at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said many elderly people in Taiwan take sedatives to help them sleep and the use of such drugs are particularly prevalent in the over-64 age group. In 2013, about 1.09 million of Taiwan's 2.69 million people over the age of 64 were prescribed sedatives for sleeping problems, Liu said, citing National Health Insurance data. The use of sedatives in the over-64 age category in Taiwan was three times higher than in 25-44 age group, and 1.5 times higher than in 45-64 age group, Liu said. She also said that based on Chang's observations in his practice, it appeared that there was a higher risk of hip fractures among elderly people who take BZDs compared with those who do not. (By Lung Pei-ning and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-19 09:08 GMT+08:00