J Cancer 2019; 10(10):2288-2298. doi:10.7150/jca.30680

Research Paper

Association between Sedative-hypnotics and Subsequent Cancer in Patients with and without Insomnia: A 14-year Follow-up Study in Taiwan

Hui-Fen Fang1, Tzu-Yin Lee2*, King Cheung Hui2*, Howard Chi Ho Yim3, Mei-Ju Chi 4✉, Min-Huey Chung2,5✉

1. Department of Nursing, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
2. School of Nursing, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
3. Microbiome Research Centre, St George & Sutherland Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
4. School of Gerontology Health Management, College of Nursing, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
5. Department of Nursing, Shuang Ho Hospital, Taipei Medical University, New Taipei City, Taiwan
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

Background: The aim of this population-based 14-year historical and prospective study was to determine the relationships between the usage of sedative-hypnotics, including benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines, and the risk of subsequent cancer in patients with or without insomnia among the Taiwanese population.

Methods: A total of 43,585 patients were recruited, 21,330 of whom had been diagnosed with insomnia and 8,717 who had been prescribed sedative-hypnotics during this study's following period of 2002 to 2015. Information from the claims data, namely basic demographic details, drug prescriptions, comorbidities, and patients' survival, was extracted from the National Health Insurance Research Database for χ2 analysis. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to compute the 14-year cancer-free survival rates after adjustment for confounding factors.

Results: Patients with insomnia who used sedative-hypnotics had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.49 compared with patients with insomnia who did not use any sedative-hypnotics, and patients without insomnia who used sedative-hypnotics had an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.68 compared with patients without insomnia who did not use any sedative-hypnotics. Regarding site-specific risk, patients with insomnia who used sedative-hypnotics had an increased risk of oral and breast cancers, and patients without insomnia who received sedative-hypnotics prescriptions had an increased risk of liver and breast cancers. The cancer-free survival rate of patients who had used sedative-hypnotics was significantly lower than that of patients who had never used sedative-hypnotics.

Conclusions: The use of sedative-hypnotics in patients either with or without insomnia was associated with subsequent cancer development in the Taiwanese population. Increased risks of oral, liver, and breast cancer were found in the patients with the use of sedative-hypnotics. The use of sedative-hypnotics should be discouraged for treating patients with or without insomnia in Taiwan.

Keywords: Sedative-hypnotics, Insomnia, Cancer, Cancer-free survival rate, Immune function, Viral infection

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How to cite this article:
Fang HF, Lee TY, Hui KC, Yim HCH, Chi MJ, Chung MH. Association between Sedative-hypnotics and Subsequent Cancer in Patients with and without Insomnia: A 14-year Follow-up Study in Taiwan. J Cancer 2019; 10(10):2288-2298. doi:10.7150/jca.30680. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v10p2288.htm