Icelanders use two to three times more sleeping pills than people of other Nordic countries. The Directorate of Health believes the effects of excessive pharmaceutical use should be researched.
RÚV reports that, according to a new report from the directorate, sleeping pills and tranquilisers, when it comes to the Nordic countries, are used least amongst Danes and most amongst Icelanders. In fact, in 2012, Icelanders used five times as many benzodiazepines as the Danes. The directorate believes this is cause for concern, as benzodiazepines should only be used temporarily.
Imovane, for another example, is not supposed to be used for any longer than two to four weeks. While not a benzodiazepine, increased use can lead to tolerance development and addiction, and suddenly stopping usage can have serious health consequences.
The directorate concludes that over-prescribing benzodiazepines and other tranquilisers has been a problem in Iceland for decades, and that the adverse effects of this practice need to be researched further.