Benzodiazepine use and risk of dementia: prospective population based study.

Authors: Billioti de Gage S, Bégaud B, Bazin F, Verdoux H, Dartigues JF, Pérès K, Kurth T, Pariente A.

Primarily indicated for treating the symptoms of anxiety and sleep disorders over short periods, benzodiazepines are widely prescribed in developed countries. In France, 30% of people aged 65 years and over use benzodiazepines. They are used by more than 20% of people aged 65 and over in Canada and Spain and by around 15% of those in Australia. Benzodiazepine use is less widespread but still high in elderly people in the United States and the United Kingdom. Consumption of benzodiazepines is often chronic, and many people take them for years despite the existence of good practice guidelines suggesting that the duration should be limited to a few weeks.

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Sonja Schmidt