Long-term use of several common anti-anxiety and insomnia drugs may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life by as much as 51 percent, according to a recent CBS News article. 

A recent study found that people who took benzodiazepines – which includes Valium, Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin – for more than three months have a higher risk for dementia. The study also indicated that long-acting or extended release forms of the drugs were associated with higher risk for Alzheimer’s than shorter acting forms of the same medication.

The drugs are frequently prescribed because anxiety is a common problem among aging people. Anxiety disorders impact approximately 3 to 14 percent of older adults each year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Older adults have increased sensitivity to benzodiazepines and slower metabolism of long-acting agents,” write the authors of the American Geriatrics Society in a 2012 report. “In general, all benzodiazepines increase risk of cognitive impairment, delirium, falls, fractures, and motor vehicle accidents in older adults.”

An estimated 36 million people worldwide currently suffer from dementia, and rates of Alzheimer’s disease continue to grow as the population ages. Read the full details here:

Commonly prescribed drugs could raise risk for Alzheimer’s

If you or a loved one take a benzodiazepine, you should read this article.

If you or anyone in your family has suffered serious side effects or damages from a medication error you should seek legal investigation immediately. Crandall & Pera Law is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.