A new study has linked sleeping pills to Alzheimer ‘s disease
Long-term use of sleeping pills may be linked to Alzheimer’s according to a new study whose authors say unneeded use of the drugs is a public health concern.
The French and Canadian research published in the medical journal, BMJ, on Wednesday found taking benzodiazepines – popular drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia – are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The risk is particularly strong for long-term users of the widely prescribed drugs, and the researchers suggest people should not be using the drugs for longer than three months.
The research team tracked the development of Alzheimer’s in elderly Quebec residents using the drugs, using data from the Quebec health insurance program database.
They compared 1796 cases of Alzheimer’s disease to results of 7184 healthy people of the same age and gender over a six-year window.
This revealed that the longer people took the drugs, the worse the results were. People were up to 51 per cent more likely to get Alzheimer’s after a period of three months, particularly when they were taking long-acting benzodiazepines.
The authors said the drugs were indisputably useful for managing anxiety disorders and transient insomnia but warned that unwarranted use over long periods should be a public health concern.
The head of the Neurodegeneration Research Laboratory at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Dr Bryce Vissel, said doctors should more carefully consider prescribing the drugs.
He said dementia was a growing problem in Australia and the study highlighted a serious health concern when such high numbers of older adults were using the drugs.
Source | SMH