Long-Term Benzo Use Linked to Increased Disability

Despite guidance that the drugs should only be used short-term, about a third of patients indicated long-term benzo use.

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In a new study, researchers found that long-term use of benzodiazepine drugs was linked to a higher risk of unemployment and disability. They suggest that the adverse effects of the drugs on cognitive functioning are responsible.

“Although benzodiazepines and related drugs (BZDRs) are effective for short-term treatment of insomnia, their use is associated with risk of several adverse outcomes, e.g., increased risk for tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and rebound effects as well as the development of dependence syndrome. For these reasons, most clinical guidelines recommend BZDRs only for short-term use,” the researchers write.

The research was led by Heidi Taipale at Karolinska Institutet and the University of Eastern Finland and published in European Psychiatry.

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