Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long-term use of anti-anxiety drugs continues in British Columbia, Canada, despite known health risks

Date:
May 20, 2010
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Drugs to treat anxiety and sleep disorders are still being prescribed for extended periods to British Columbian patients -- and increasingly so for baby boomers -- despite warnings against long-term use, according to a new study.

Drugs to treat anxiety and sleep disorders are still being prescribed for extended periods to British Columbian patients -- and increasingly so for baby boomers -- despite warnings against long-term use, according to a University of British Columbia study.

Published online in the journal Health Policy, the study by researchers at UBC's Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) is the first of its kind to examine the use of benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan for an entire population over time. It's also the first to pinpoint the socio-economic characteristics associated with long-term users of such drugs.

Results show that seniors and low-income earners are more likely to be long-term users of benzodiazepines, with rates remaining steady over a 10-year period. Meanwhile, use among the middle-aged population has increased. Harms associated with long-term use (more than 100 days in a year) can include dependence and tolerance, cognitive impairment, and increased risks of falls in the elderly.

"Given the potential for dependence and harms associated with these drugs, they are recommended to be used sparingly for short periods," says Colleen Cunningham, CHSPR researcher and lead author of the study. "However, our study suggests that a significant number of British Columbians -- especially the elderly who suffer greater health risks from falls -- are using them for long periods."

Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly prescribed types of neurological drugs in developed countries. The UBC study compared health records of B.C. residents from 1996 and 2006. Of the 4.9 per cent of the overall B.C. population who were given short-term benzodiazepine prescriptions in 2006 and 3.5 per cent who were given long-term prescriptions:

  • Nearly half of long-term users were over age 65, and more than a quarter were 75 or older
  • Two out of three were women, both for short- and long-term use
  • Long-term users were more likely to be in the lowest income bracket than short-term or non-users

Cunningham and co-authors Gillian Hanley and Steve Morgan found long-term use in 2006 was associated with early use -- half of all 2006 long-term users had been prescribed benzodiazepines in 1996. The researchers are calling for prescribing practices and policies that target populations younger than conventionally studied (i.e. under age 65) to reduce rates of long-term use.

This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Long-term use of anti-anxiety drugs continues in British Columbia, Canada, despite known health risks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520092944.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2010, May 20). Long-term use of anti-anxiety drugs continues in British Columbia, Canada, despite known health risks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520092944.htm
University of British Columbia. "Long-term use of anti-anxiety drugs continues in British Columbia, Canada, despite known health risks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520092944.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins