Article by Kent Allen, AARP

“It helps people sleep but doubles rates of car accidents and falls in those 65+

Benzodiazepine has been linked to doubled rates of car accidents, falls and broken hips for people age 65 and older.

Although the rate is falling, a sedative that can significantly increase accidents for older adults is still being prescribed — despite efforts to discourage the drug’s use.

The drug is benzodiazepine, which helps many people sleep, or feel calmer or less anxious. While deemed safe for younger people, the use of benzodiazepine has been linked to doubled rates of car accidents, falls and broken hips for people age 65 and older.

Even with the heightened risk, the drug shows up in the prescriptions of at least 7 percent of older veterans in the United States, whose medical records were studied for the research. The results were recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The rate is even higher among adults 65 and older in Canada and Australia.”

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