Sleep aid use during and following breast cancer adjuvant chemotherapy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: Knowledge of sleep aid use is limited despite the high prevalence of insomnia among women before, during, and following breast cancer adjuvant chemotherapy treatments (CTX). This study's purpose was to (1) determine the frequency and characteristics of participants taking sleep aid(s); (2) identify the frequency and percentage of sleep aid use by category (prescription sedative/hypnotics, prescription anti-depressants, prescription analgesics, prescription anti-emetics, over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics, OTC cold/flu/sinus, OTC sleep, alcohol, and herbal supplements); and (3) compare sleep aid use by category in the experimental and control groups within a randomized-controlled clinical trial (RCT). Methods: Longitudinal, descriptive, secondary RCT data analysis of women (n=219) receiving out-patient CTX, and at 30, 60, and 90 days following the last CTX and 1 year following CTX1. Participants recorded daily sleep aid use on a Sleep Diary. Analyses included descriptives, chi-square, and RM-ANOVA. Results: Approximately 20% of participants took at least one sleep aid before CTX1; usage decreased over time (12-18%); a second sleep aid was used infrequently. Prescription sedative/hypnotics (46%) and OTC analgesics (24%) were used most frequently. OTC sleep aids were most commonly used as a second aid. Prescription sedative/hypnotics [F(7,211)=4.26, p=0.00] and OTC analgesics [F(7,211)=2.38, p=0.023] use decreased significantly over time. Conclusions: Results reflect the natural course of CTX, recovery, and healing. Comprehensive screening for sleep-wake disturbances and sleep aid use may lead to a better understanding of the risks and benefits of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions, and ultimately lead to selection of the safest and most effective treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-325
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • breast cancer
  • drug therapy
  • insomnia
  • oncology
  • self-medications
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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