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24-Sep-14 10:15 AM  CST  

Benzodiazapine’s Could Possibly Increase The Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease 

A new study recently published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests that the regular use of benzodiazepines may increase the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease by 51 percent if the drugs are used for three months or more. The study also found that the longer the drugs were taken the higher the patients risk for dementia. Pharmacy technicians should also note that researchers found that the use of extended-release forms of these drugs increased the risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia even more.

            Benzodiazepine’s are sometimes called “benzos” for short and include drugs such as:


  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)


            Doctors and patients have to make the decision of whether or not the benefits of taking a drug outweigh the risks. The authors of the study suggest that doctors and regulatory agencies should consider the risks of using benzodiazepines long-term for both older and younger patients. “It is now crucial to encourage physicians to carefully balance the benefits and risks when initiating or renewing a treatment with benzodiazepine’s and related products in elderly patients,” said the authors of the newest study.

            Do you notice your pharmacist filling many prescriptions for benzodiazepine’s for elderly patients or younger patients? Do you think there are more risks than benefits to taking benzodiazepines?





1. Yaffe, Christine. “Benzodiazepine’s And Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease.” British Medical Journal. Web. Date of Access: 22 Sept 2014.      

2. Mertz, Beverly. “Benzodiazepine Use May Raise Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Harvard Health Publications. Web. Date of Access: 22 Sept 2014. 


3. Walton, Alice, G.  “Anxiety Medications Ativan, Xanax, and Valium May Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Web.  Date of Access: 22 Sept 2014.


4. Firger, Jessica.  “Commonly Prescribed Drugs Could Raise Risk for Alzheimer’s.” CBS News. Web. Date of Access: 22 Sept 2014.

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Source: Jennifer S. O’Reilly

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