Clinical research

Benzodiazepine use does not increase dementia risk in older adults

Ten-year study found no increased risk of dementia or cognitive decline among participants given the highest levels of benzodiazepines.

In a new study of 3,434 people aged 65 and over, researchers found no increased risk of dementia or cognitive decline among those who had the highest levels of benzodiazepine use. In the image, MRI scan of a person with dementia

Source: Zephyr / Science Photo Library

The risk of dementia (pictured on brain scan) is not increased through use of benzodiazepines, suggests a new study 

Benzodiazepines are often used in older adults to treat sleep, anxiety and depressive disorders. But there have been conflicting reports on their association with the risk of dementia. 

In a new study of 3,434 people aged 65 years and over, researchers found no increased risk of dementia or cognitive decline among those who were given the highest levels of benzodiazepines. The team observed a slight increased risk of dementia among those with the lowest use, but their analyses suggested this likely reflected treatment of the early symptoms of dementia.  

Writing in The BMJ (online, 2 February 2016)[1], the researchers say the ten-year prospective study overcame several limitations of previous studies that found contradictory results. However, they note that as benzodiazepines are associated with multiple adverse events, they should be avoided as far as possible in older adults.  

 

 

 

 

Citation: The Salvadore DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20200658

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  • In a new study of 3,434 people aged 65 and over, researchers found no increased risk of dementia or cognitive decline among those who had the highest levels of benzodiazepine use. In the image, MRI scan of a person with dementia

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