Philippe Voyer, RN, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing, Laval University; Researcher, Laval University Geriatric Research Unit,St-Sacrement Hospital, Quebec, QC.
Michel Préville, MD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke; Researcher, Research Centre on Aging, Sherbrooke Geriatric University Institute, Sherbrooke, QC.
and Researchers of the Étude sur la santé des aînés team.
Sleep complaints by older adults constitute a very common situation faced by health care providers. However, not all professionals respond to the complaint the same way. Some will briefly assess the complaint and resort rather quickly to medication while others will assess the complaint carefully in order to exclude the diagnosis of primary insomnia and prescribe alternative interventions to improve sleep. When medicine is prescribed, the type of compound often selected is benzodiazepine. However, benzodiazepine carries a significant risk of adverse reaction, including drug dependency, both of which are clinical problems that should not be underrated, especially when treating a subjective complaint and not a specific diagnosis.
Key words: insomnia, benzodiazepine, dependency, addiction, older adults.