Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) who use benzodiazepines and related drugs (BZRDs) have a 41% higher risk for death than patients who do not use these drugs, new research shows.
Mortality rates in patients with AD who use BZDRs was 13.4 per 100 person-years, vs 8.5 per 100 person-years in nonusers during the 6-month study period (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.4). The association was significant from initiation of use.
"I was surprised by how big the increased risk was," lead author Laura K. Saarelainen, a PhD candidate at the Kuopio Research Center for Geriatric Care, University of Eastern Finland, told Medscape Medical News.
"We would like clinicians to know that these drugs have major adverse events from the very beginning of use," she added.
The study was published online November 15 in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.