Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Benzodiazepines and cognition

Despite advice to keep the duration of treatment short benzodiazepines are often prescribed for long periods of time, particularly in older people. Many people think benzodiazepines have a negative effect on people's cognition although the evidence from the research so far is inconclusive. A study of 2,105 people over 62 in Holland looked at people's benzodiazepine usage and tested their memory, intelligence and cognitive functioning over a 9-year period. At the end of the study the researchers found that benzodiazepines had a small, but statistically significant negative effect on people's long-term cognitive functioning.

Bierman, E. J.M. ... [et al] - The effect of chronic benzodiazepine use on cognitive functioning in older persons: good, bad or indifferent ? International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry December 2007, 22(12), 1194-1200

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