Long-Term Use Of Benzodiazepine Drugs For Anxiety And Sleep Disorders Linked To Increased Alzheimer’s Risk

Long-Term Use Of Benzodiazepine Drugs For Anxiety And Sleep Disorders Linked To Increased Alzheimer’s Risk
AnxietyA new Open Access study published in the prestigious BMJ journal finds indication that use of benzodiazepines, widely prescribed drugs for treatment of anxiety and insomnia, is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, particularly for long-term users. These drugs, medically referred to as benzodiazepine receptor agonists, work by increasing the effectiveness of a neurotransmitter called gama-amniobutryic acid (GABA) that impedes sending alert fullness signals to other nerve cells. This action has the complimentary effects of reducing anxiety, increased sedation and muscle relaxation, and benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to treat general anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, seizures (including status epilepticus), muscle spasms (such as in tetanus cases), restless legs syndrome, alcohol withdrawal, opiate withdrawal syndrome, withdrawal from benzodiazepines themselves, and Ménière's disease. They may also be used for sedation in certain medical procedures such as endoscopies to reduce tension and anxiety, and impart pain tolerance, and in some surgical procedures to induce amnesia or to reduce anesthesia dose requirements or as the sole agent when IV anesthesia is not available or is contraindicated. However, a Wikipedia entry notes t
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