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1 in 4 seniors who use Xanax, Valium uses them in the long term

1 in 4 seniors who use Xanax, Valium uses them in the long term

MONDAY Sept. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) – When older people use drugs like Valium or Xanax to soothe anxiety or make them sleep, they run a high risk of becoming dependent on drugs, new research suggests.

In the study of nearly 600 adults with an average age of 78 years old, about one in four who were prescribed this type of benzodiazepine sedatives eventually used them for at least a year.

This is despite warnings against long-term use of the medication, especially among the elderly. Benzodiazepines – a class that also includes Ativan, Halcion and Klonopin – can increase the risk of car accidents, falls, broken hips and other harmful side effects, experts warn.

The new study "thus shows that we should help suppliers at the start of prescribing a benzodiazepine, by starting short-term prescription and involving patients in discussions about when to re-evaluate their symptoms and start reducing patient "said lead author Dr. Lauren Gerlach. She is a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

SOURCES: Brian M. Keefe, MD, medical director, Zucker Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, N.Y .; Harshal D. Kirane, M.D., Director of Addiction Services, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City; University of Michigan, press release, 10 September 2018

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