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Alzheimer’s and Prescription Anxiety Medication

Published on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, the medical journal BMJ detailed a recent study completed by French and Canadian researchers that shows a convincing link between benzodiazepines and Alzheimer’s. Benzodiazepines – such as Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin and Valium – are commonly prescribed for sleep disorders and anxiety and they’re also used as muscle relaxants and anti-convulsants.

While there is not a cause-and-effect relationship, Alzheimer’s was 51% more common in older adults who had taken the drugs. The risk began after three months of use and rose as the drugs were taken over longer periods of time.

Because anxiety, depression and sleep problems can be warning signs of dementia, the researchers segmented the participants who exhibited those symptoms and compared them to those who didn’t. They found that the results were the same adding additional support to the strength of the potential link between long-term use of benzodiazepines and Alzheimer’s.

With the number of diagnosed seniors requiring specialty in-home Alzheimer’s care in Bridgewater on the rise, the medical community strives to learn more about the causes of Alzheimer’s. At the present time, approximately 36 million people are affected globally by Alzheimer’s, 5 million of which are in the U.S. By 2050, it has been projected that 115 million people will suffer from the condition and numbers in the U.S. are projected to triple by 2025.

The American Geriatrics Society has included benzodiazepines on its list of drugs that are inappropriate for seniors. However, 50% of older Americans use medication for some type of mental health problem. It is important that your older family members are monitored for appropriate medication use and dosage to help them avoid unnecessary adverse reactions. If possible, benzodiazepine use should be limited to short-term.

If you have an aging loved one who is in need of quality in-home senior care in Bridgewater, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are expertly trained in the unique needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To schedule a complementary in-home consultation, please call 908-450-9400.