Jan 27, 2006    #016
Contact: Noemi Rojas
(816) 235-1520

Recently published sleep study reveals prescription trends

Women with sleep problems are more likely to be prescribed potentially addictive medications despite alternatives, according to a University of Missouri-Kansas City sleep study published in the December issue of Clinical Therapeutics (Vol. 27, No. 12).

The study also showed a possible association between patient’s age and race and the prescribing of expensive vs. inexpensive sleep medications. Patients 65 and older and Hispanic patients were less likely to receive expensive medications.

“This finding may have been linked to insurance coverage and socioeconomic status,” said Rafia S. Rasu, the study’s lead author and assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the UMKC School of Pharmacy. Often, the cheaper a drug, the more addictive potential it has.

“We also found that behavior therapy was not being prescribed as much as pharmacotherapy,” Rasu, MPharm., MBA, Ph.D., said.

Five percent of the sampled patients were prescribed with behavioral therapy, and 14 percent had a combination of behavior and pharmacotherapy. Previous research shows that pharmacotherapy yields fast improvements, while behavior therapy generates longer sustained effects. Combination of pharmacotherapy and behavioral therapy also shows effective results.

Rasu’s study derives its findings from 94 million U.S. office visits made between 1996 and 2001, the most recent data available from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey at the time of the study.

Her study was an extension of an earlier study she co-authored and was published June 2005 in the journal Sleep. This earlier study revealed that nearly one out of two visits to a doctor’s office resulted in the prescription of potentially addictive medications. It also said that office visits by older patients and those with publicly funded health insurance plans were nearly twice as likely to result in the prescription of drugs with high abuse potential. Rasu's co-authors on this study included Rajesh Balkrishnan, Ph.D.; Milap Nahata, PharmD., M.S.; and Rahul Shenolikar, M.S. from the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy.

The UMKC School of Pharmacy was founded in 1885 and is Missouri’s only public school of pharmacy. The school offers Professional Practice (Doctor of Pharmacy - PharmD), non-practice Bachelors and Graduate (MS and PhD) degrees. UMKC pharmacy graduates have a nearly 100 percent placement rate prior to graduation. They own pharmacies, develop innovative community practices, advance to post-graduate residencies and work in the pharmaceutical industry among the hundreds of pharmacy career options. For more information on the UMKC School of Pharmacy, visit

UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban affairs.

This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).



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