As people across the country isolate to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, more prescriptions for insomnia and anxiety medications are being filled, Health magazine reports.
According to a recent report from Express Scripts, a prescription benefit plan provider, the use of anti-insomnia, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant medications have spiked, with filled prescriptions increasing by 21% between February and March 2020—that’s after use decreased between 2015 and 2019. Those numbers peaked during the week of March 15—the same week the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the US declared a national emergency in response to the crisis, per the report.
“The COVID-19 situation is unprecedented in our lifetime—it affects everybody, all the time,” Alcibiades Rodriguez, MD, medical director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center-Sleep Center at NYU Langone Health, tells Health. “The news is pretty almost entirely related to this, and usually focusing mostly on the negative. Anxiety levels are high, which may lead to fragmented sleep, unusual sleep schedules, etc.”