Medicine: Sleeping-Pill Psychosis

Because they are advertised on television, sold without prescription and consumed by thousands, such over-the-counter sleeping pills as Compoz, Sominex and Sleep-Eze are generally considered safe. But if they are overused, report two Washington, D.C., researchers in the American Journal of Psychiatry, even these drugs can be dangerous, triggering hallucinations and schizophrenic behavior.

Drs. Kenneth Ullman and Robert Groh base their warning on studies of 36 patients who came to the Washington Hospital Center emergency room in a disoriented, schizoid state. Urinalysis revealed that ten of the patients had been taking nonprescription sleeping...

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