Benzodiazepines May Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, September 2014, use of benzodiazepines for 3 months or more is associated with increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, with longer exposures increasing the risks. Drugs with longer half-lives, such as diazepam and clonazepam, had a greater risk than shorter-acting drugs such as lorazepam and alprazolam. These findings were adjusted for symptoms that could indicate a future dementia diagnosis, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia, which are some of the main reasons for use of these drugs. The association was seen in patients on benzodiazepines 5 years or fewer before the Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Use of these drugs in the elderly should be limited, according to the researchers.

Dr. Jack Florin, MD
Neurologist
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