Minerva. . . and other stories

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5336 (Published 23 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5336

Z drugs and risk of falling

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence reviewed the management of insomnia a few years ago. It reckoned that Z drugs (zaleplon, zolpidem, zopiclone, and eszopiclone) were no more effective than shorter acting benzodiazepines, and that there was no reason to believe their adverse effect profile was better. Even so, zopiclone has become the most frequently prescribed hypnotic in the UK. A systematic review in Age and Ageing finds that zopiclone and all Z drugs carry an increased risk of fractures and falls in elderly people (Age Ageing doi:10.1093/ageing/afx167).

Skin cancer among petroleum workers

High rates of skin cancer in petroleum workers can’t be explained by occupational exposure to ultraviolet radiation …

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