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Sleeping pills increase fatal pneumonia in the elderly by 50 per cent
About the author: 
WDDTY Team

Sleeping pills and sedatives increase the risk of pneumonia by up to 50 per cent-a common cause of death among the elderly, the most likely age group to take the drugs

Sleeping pills and sedatives increase the risk of pneumonia by up to 50 per cent-a common cause of death among the elderly, the most likely age group to take the drugs.
One in 10 elderly people in the UK are taking a benzodiazepine-prescribed for anxiety and insomnia-which increases the risk of fatal and non-fatal pneumonia by 54 per cent, say researchers at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London.
The benzodiazepines tested included diazepam, chlordiazeopoxide, lorezapam and temazapan.
The fatal effects are almost immediate, with 22 per cent of people dying from pneumonia within 30 days of starting the drugs, and 32 per cent dying after three years.
Previous studies have shown the drugs increase the risk of infection and blood poisoning, or sepsis.
(Source: Thorax, 2012, published online; doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-202374).


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