Sleep Aids and Anxiety Drugs Linked to Alzheimer’s
Researchers have determined that older adults who relied on benzodiazepines – such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin – to treat anxiety or induce sleep are at an elevated risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
About the Benzodiazepines Study
According to a study published in BMJ, people who had take a cumulative daily dose for six months are 84 percent more likely to develop dementia. However, this does not mean that only regular users are at risk. In fact, the study was concluded that every use of benzodiazepines resulted in an increased risk.
The risk of dementia was determined to be dose dependent, meaning more frequent or longer use meant a greater increase in the risk of developing dementia. Those who took benzodiazepine very briefly or infrequently did not see their Alzheimer’s risk go up five years after being prescribed the medication.
Previous Research Linking Benzodiazepines to Dementia and Other Side-Effects
The LA Times reports that there is already strong evidence linking frequent or regular benzodiazepine use to degraded memory and mental performance. Other research suggests that the receptors to which the drug binds become less active after treatment, resulting in cognitive decline.
The following side effects have also been linked to benzodiazepines:
- Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty breathing