OTC Sleep Aids – What are They?
Over-the-counter sleep aids, shortly referred to as OTC sleep aids are US Food and Drug Administration approved sleep aids for people older than 12 years. Although, these over the counter aids are for people who suffer from occasional sleeplessness only. Those suffering from chronic form of insomnia must not use these OTC sleep aids but refer themselves to a doctor. Regular intake of these sleep aids is not a permanent solution to the sleep problem that one faces, and it also makes one dependent on them for getting sleep. Let us look at these over-the-counter aids in detail.
OTC Sleep Aids
Some of the OTC drugs that are available are Nytol, Benadryl, Compoz, Unisom etc. These drugs contain either doxylamine or diphenhydramine, which are antihistamines. Antihistamines are used to treat problems like severe itching, usually observed in allergies. But antihistamines are known to induce sleep as well, the reason why they are used in sleep aids.
Apart from the above drugs that contain antihistamines, there are several other over-the-counter sleep aids available in the market which contain painkilling and cough medications. Choosing the best aid for your temporary sleep problem out of the many available can be a bit confusing. But make sure that you read the side effects that will be mentioned on the drug’s label before purchasing the medicine. Also, seek your doctor’s assistance before using the medicine for any drug interactions if you are using any other medicines for the problems that you might suffer from.
Available OTC Aids
The following is the list of sleep aids that are available in the form of tablets, capsules or syrups-
- melatonin supplements
- melatonin receptor agonist hypnotics
- benzodiazepine sedative hgypnotics
- non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotics
- herbal medicines
- herbs like Valerian root, chamomile, lemon balm
- S-adenosyl methionine
The following are the side effects of these
OTC sleep aids
- drowsiness or dizziness
- memory loss
- lack of coordination
- blurred vision
The above mentioned over the counter sleep aids are meant either for a one-time or short-term use only. Using them on a regular basis would cause one to become dependent on them, meaning it would impossible for one to sleep without using the sleep aids. Also, one has to keep in mind that these aids are not treating the condition causing the sleeplessness in anyway.