Anxiolytic and Hypnotic Medications Linked to Increased Mortality Rate
About the Anxiolytic/Hypnotic Medication Study
According to Medscape, the study, led by Scott Welch, professor of psychiatry in the Division of Mental Health and Wellbeing at the Warwick Medical School in Coventry, United Kingdom, followed more than 100,000 age and sex matched patients to for a period of seven years.
34,727 of the patients followed received treatment with anxiolytic medications, hypnotic medications or both medications. For each of those patients, two other individuals who did not take the drugs were added to the study to build a control group.
The vast majority of the anxiolytic and hypnotic drugs observed in the studies were benzodiazepines, Diazepam and “Z drugs” – these include zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem and zopiclone.
Results of the Anxiolytic/Hypnotic Medication Study
Even following adjustments to the hazard ratio to account for age variances and other potential confounders, the mortality rate among patients who took anxiolytic and hypnotic medications within the first year of the study was 3.32 (with a 95 percent confidence interval) compared to those who did not take the drugs.
Further, after excluding all first year deaths, nearly four excess deaths occurred per 100 people who took the drugs for roughly 7.6 years following their first prescription.
According to the researchers, more than 16 million prescriptions for these drugs were written in UK primary care practices between 2011 and 2012.