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Benzodiazepines Linked to Higher Risk of Pneumonia

TUESDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Benzodiazepine use is associated with an increased risk of developing pneumonia as well as increased mortality following pneumonia, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Thorax.

Eneanya Obiora, M.D., from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues compared benzodiazepine use in 4,964 cases of community-acquired pneumonia and 29,697 controls from a U.K. primary care patient database (2001 to 2002).

The researchers found that benzodiazepine use was associated with a higher risk of pneumonia (odds ratio, 1.54). Benzodiazepine use was also associated with increased mortality, both at 30 days (hazard ratio, 1.22) and long term (hazard ratio, 1.32). Diazepam, lorazepam, temazepam, and chlordiazepoxide were associated with increased mortality, while all except chlordiazepoxide were associated with a higher incidence of pneumonia.

"Benzodiazepines were associated with an increased risk of, and mortality from, community-acquired pneumonia," Obiora and colleagues conclude. "This is consistent with data from clinical trials and concerns expressed over the intensive care unit effects of these drugs leading to movement away from benzodiazepine sedation."

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