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Journal Digest
Benzodiazepines May Raise Dementia Risk
Psychiatric News
Volume 47 Number 22 page 17b-17b

French researchers have found that benzodiazepines are associated with a robust increased risk of dementia in older patients. They performed a prospective population-based study of 1,063 men and women (mean age 78.2), all of whom were free of dementia and began taking benzodiazepines between the third and fifth year of follow-up. During the 15-year follow-up, 253 cases of dementia occurred, each confirmed by a neurologist, representing an approximately 50 percent increase in the level of risk when compared with a control group who did not take benzodiazepines.

“Considering the extent to which benzodiazepines are prescribed and the number of potential adverse effects of this drug class in the general population, indiscriminate widespread use should be cautioned against,” they wrote. inline-graphic-1.gif

Billioti de Gage S, Begaud B, Bazin F, et al. “Benzodiazepine Use and Risk of Dementia: Prospective Population Based Study.” BMJ. 2012. September 27 [Epub ahead of print]. www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6231

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