Having reviewed the history, pharmacology, and efficacy of hypnotics, it is appropriate to turn now to the risks associated with their widespread use. Certainly one which has received a great deal of attention has been their use in suicides. (There is a tendency, in fact, to think only of this and dependence as the major negative consequences of hypnotic use, although a variety of problems discussed in later chapters, such as daytime residual effects and drug interactions, should be considered.) It might be well first to consider briefly how suicides with hypnotics fit into overall trends in suicide in the last few years (see Table IV), and to describe the persons most likely to take overdoses. The final portion of this chapter will describe the medical and toxicological aspects of acute poisoning with specific hypnotic agents.
KeywordsPulmonary Edema Suicide Rate Chloral Hydrate Delay Gastric Emptying Deep Tendon Reflex
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