Long-term use can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. In older people , research has shown that benzodiazepines can impair cognition, mobility, and driving skills, and they increase the risk of falls.
Older adults , or people aged 65 years and above, may be more sensitive to the effects of benzodiazepines. For example, the sedative effects of Xanax may last longer in older adults . Accidental falls are also common in older adults who take benzodiazepines.
Disorientation, balance problems, daytime drowsiness and increased risk of injuries – like falls – are also benzodiazepine side effects. The very problems older adults hope to avoid, such as mental confusion or hip fractures, become more likely.
Last year, a widely publicized study again found that benzodiazepines–Ativan, Valium, and Xanax –which are often used to treat anxiety and sleep problems , were linked to increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease in elderly people.
Buspirone is an anti-anxiety drug that has been shown to be effective for older adults. Benzodiazepines , another anti-anxiety drug, are effective but should be prescribed carefully to older adults because of risk of memory impairment, unsteadiness, and falls.
Probably the most serious: falls and fractures, already a common danger for older people , because benzos can cause dizziness. They’re also associated with auto accidents, given that they cause drowsiness and fatigue. Moreover, “they have a negative effect on memory and other cognitive function,” says Dr.
Short-half-life benzodiazepines, such as oxazepam , alprazolam , and triazolam , are usually recommended for older adults, because these agents do not accumulate in the blood, are rapidly cleared from circulation, and offer greater dosage flexibility.
However, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted effects (eg, severe drowsiness or unsteadiness) and age-related kidney or liver problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose.
In the elderly, nonbenzodiazepines such as zolpidem , eszopiclone , zaleplon , and ramelteon are safer and better tolerated than tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, and benzodiazepines . Pharmacotherapy should be recommended only after sleep hygiene is addressed, however.
Past Studies on Xanax and Alzheimer’s But another study published in 2016 of 3,434 subjects found that high doses of benzos did not result in an increased risk of dementia , though moderate and low doses showed a slightly increased risk.
Some of the most common causes of sudden confusion include: an infection – urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common cause in elderly people or people with dementia. a stroke or TIA (“mini-stroke”) a low blood sugar level in people with diabetes – read about treating low blood sugar.
An article published online in the prestigious British Medical Journal found a link between dementia and the use of anti-anxiety medications such as Valium, Xanax and other benzodiazepines (often referred to as “benzos”).
Researchers developed the diet by looking at the Mediterranean and DASH diets, then focusing on the foods with the most compelling findings in dementia prevention. Vegetables , especially leafy greens , rose to the top. In general, fruit didn’t, though berries made the list.
Three cholinesterase inhibitors are commonly prescribed: Donepezil (marketed under the brand name Aricept ), which is approved to. treat all stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Galantamine ( Razadyne ), approved for mild-to-moderate stages. Rivastigmine (Exelon), approved for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s as well.
New research links certain medications to dementia risk amitriptyline , paroxetine, and bupropion (most commonly taken for depression) oxybutynin and tolterodine (taken for an overactive bladder) diphenhydramine (a common antihistamine, as found in Benadryl ).