National Prescribing Service Help with Sleeping Pills

The National Prescribing Service was set up in Australia in 1998

  • to help health professionals keep up to date with the latest evidence and
  • provide individuals with the tools and knowledge to make better decisions on medicines and medical tests.
This website is very helpful for a number of reasons.  You can download the information pages about your sleeping pill, read some good information about sleeping better, download a sleep diary to document your sleeping pattern and/or download a schedule to help you reduce your sleeping pills (if you are trying to get off sleeping pills).
Their website is http://www.nps.org.au

Management Options For Improving Sleep:

Here’s a very helpful page, which includes a list of medicines/drugs that can affect sleep, and other causes of insomnia – including a list of psychological, physical and environmental stressors; medical conditions; psychiatric disorders; poor sleep practices and substance use.

http://www.nps.org.au/health_professionals/publications/prescribing_practice_review/current/prescribing_practice_review_49

The page also includes information on cognitive and behavioral therapies for insomnia – including sleep restriction and relaxation training.

Please note the section called “Actively pursue discontinuation of long-term use” which is about half way down the page.

Information on the Causes, Effects and Management of Sleep Problems:

A general information section called “Sleep right, Sleep tight – Natural sleep before medicines”

http://www.nps.org.au/topics/sleep_campaign

You can download it here:

http://www.nps.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/84341/NPS_Benzos_Consumer_Factsheet_rebranded.pdf

Download A Sleep Diary Here:

It is recommended that you complete a sleep diary to assess the extent of your sleeping problems.  It allows you to review the patterns, and share the information with other people who might be interested, such as your doctor or health care professional.

It has been shown that insomniacs often underestimate the amount of sleep they get, so be as accurate as possible when entering the information.

http://www.nps.org.au/topics/sleep_campaign/resources/sleep_diary

The Modified Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) Test can be found here:

This test will help you work out the extent of your problem, and help you pinpoint the areas that are most adversely affected.  It gives you a sleep quality score at the end.

It is very easy to do online and you can print off the results when you get to the end.  It takes only a few minutes to complete, you could do this right now!

http://webapps.nps.org.au/sleepquiz/

How to look up Information on Your Medications – such as your Sleeping Pills (if you are taking them):

Enter the name of your medications (including sleeping pill name) and this facility will enable you to download the printed information that is associated with that particular prescription medication.  Enter the specific brand name that is on your pack, not the generic ‘drug’ name.

http://www.nps.org.au/search_by_medicine_name

Enter every single medication you are taking, one by one, to this system.  You might also find other medications that have adverse side effects that effect your sleep.  Take particular note of any medications listed in the “Management Options for Improving Sleep” page (listed above) in Box 1, Common Causes of Insomnia…  where some specific “Medicines” are listed.

I’ve also got a list of drug side-effects that could be effecting your sleep on this page:  https://www.sleeplessnomore.com/associated-health-conditions/

If you are taking a number of medications, this process does NOT cover how those medications interact with each other.  The results are just associated with that medication in isolation.

Another thing to keep in mind when you discuss your medications with your doctor or health care professional, is that you should mention any other supplements or CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) that you are taking/engaged in.

Even some foods can negate the effectiveness of some drugs (hopefully they will be listed on the drug sheet).

Your health care professional needs to know all of the information to help you make quality decisions around your health.

A Reduction Plan for your Sleeping Tablets (Benzodiazepines)

If you are intending to get off sleeping pills it needs to be done gradually and you will need to have medical supervision while you do this.  Because sleeping pills are addictive, there are possible side effects from coming off them (including rebound insomnia).  These side effects can be made worse with sudden reductions in medication.

Please consult your doctor in every case – and follow a strict program on how to reduce the  amount of the medication.

Download this reduction plan to help you, and talk it over with your doctor as you progress.

http://www.nps.org.au/health_professionals/patient_resources/patient_leaflets/patient_leaflets__and__action_plans2/Benzos_PEM

http://www.nps.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/72160/NPS_Benzos_Reduction_Plan.pdf

Hope this helps

Best regards

Elizabeth