Here’s important information for Zoomers who are taking common medications like Xanax and valium. A French study finds this class of psychiatric medications may increase the risk of dementia for people over 65.
The study showed that older people on drugs known as benzodiazepines were 50 percent more likely to develop dementia over a 15-year period, compared with those who did not take the drugs.
These are widely prescribed medications, used to treat symptoms of anxiety and sleep disorders. In Canada 20 percent of people 65-plus are prescribed these drugs in the form of valium and Xanax.
The study findings held true even when taking into account other factors that may affect dementia risk, such as age, gender, diabetes and early signs of dementia.
Researchers caution that the study only found an association between the drugs and dementia, and not a direct cause-and-effect link.
However, the findings in the British Medical Journal echo those of several earlier studies. These medications have also been tied to other serious problems in older adults, like falls.
The researchers say whenever possible, use of the drugs should be limited to just a few weeks. Currently, despite evidence that the drugs work only over short periods, many people take them for years.