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Sleeping pill Stilnoct can increase the risk of heart attacks, scientists claim

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A sleeping pill prescribed to thousands of patients can increase the risk of heart attacks by up to 50 per cent, according to scientists.

Research carried out among heart attack victims found that numbers were higher among those who had taken zolpidem tablets, prescribed in the UK under the name Stilnoct and in the US as Ambien.

Scientists have linked taking zolpidem to an increased threat of heart attacks, and believe that taking the equivalent of 60 of the pills can increase the risk by as much as 50per cent.

Even taking just four pills with a dose of 35 miligrams per year increases the risk of a life-threatening cardiac episode by 20per cent.

The study, which was carried out by experts at the China Medical University in Taiwan, is the first to link zolpidem with cardiovascular problems.

Drug manufacturers Sanofi Inc have refuted the finding and said there are no known adverse cardiac reactions to zolpidem.

Risk: A study carried out among heart attack victims found that numbers were higher among those who had taken zolpidem tablets

Experts can not be completely sure that the pills are responsible for heart problems.

However, scientists, who presented their findings at the world’s biggest cardiology conference in Dallas, Texas, say further and wider-reaching investigations into possible side effects of the drug are required following the study of more than 5,000 people.

Scientists who compared 5,000 heart attack victims with 20,000 healthy adults claimed there was a higher rate of heart attacks among those who took zolpidem.

The findings, revealed at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, showed that even taking the pills sporadically can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack.READ MORE

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