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Current Drug Safety
ISSN (Print): 1574-8863
ISSN (Online): 2212-3911
DOI: 10.2174/1574886311207050007

Long-Term Benzodiazepine Use and Mortality: Are we Doing the Right Studies?

Author(s): Umesh Kalum Amarasuriya, Puja R. Myles and Robert David Sanders
Pages 367-371 (5)
Benzodiazepines are World Health Organisation essential medicines used in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, anaesthesia, sedation, anxiolysis, behavioural disturbance, epilepsy, insomnia, palliative care, and muscle spasm. Despite their widespread use concerns remain over their long-term safety through both neuronal and non-neuronal effects. We conducted a systematic review to identify vulnerable populations of patients who may be at increased risk of harm from benzodiazepines. We identified three potentially “at risk” groups of patients, those with renal disease, lung disease and those recently hospitalised. However methodological limitations including selection bias, vague descriptors of benzodiazepine use and inappropriate grouping together of benzodiazepines with other medications, precluded definitive conclusions. Future studies should concentrate on these groups to identify the long-term safety of benzodiazepines in these patient groups.
Benzodiazepine, mortality, infection, renal failure, dialysis, pneumonia, delirium, anxiolysis, anxiolysis, behavioural disturbance, epilepsy, insomnia, palliative care, muscle spasm, prognosis, anaesthesia, sedation
Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, London, WC1N 3AR, UK.