Yet another study has linked benzodiazepine use to an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
"Even though the association between benzodiazepine use and Alzheimer's disease was small in this study, the threshold for prescribing these drugs should be high enough due to their overall adverse eﬀect proﬁle, including higher risk of falls and hip fractures," lead author Vesa Tapiainen, MD, PhD, a student in the School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, told Medscape Medical News.
These drugs are often used to treat sleep problems, but their efficacy for this indication diminishes over time, whereas the risks for adverse events remain, she added.
"Physicians should consider the risks and benefits, as well as appropriate duration of treatment, before prescribing these drugs," said Tapiainen.
Although other studies have linked benzodiazepines with AD risk, Tapiainen believes this one is the largest to date.
The study was published in the August issue of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.