The French-Canadian study of elderly Quebec adults found that prolonged use of anxiety or sleeping pills for more than three months was linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Researchers compared 1796 cases of Alzheimer’s disease to the results of 7184 healthy people of the same age and gender over a six-year period. They found that those who had been on the prescribed medication for more than 12 weeks had a 51 per cent increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The results were particularly prevalent with patients who were taking benzodiazepine.
While there is no doubt that the medication is highly effective in the treatment of mood and sleep disorders, researchers such as Dr Bryce Vissel, head of the Neurodegeneration Research Laboratory at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, believe that doctors should take more caution when prescribing the drugs and better monitor of side effects. Dr Vissel believes dementia is a growing problem and this study highlights a key concern.