Benzodiazepines and related drugs tied to higher pneumonia risk

  • Int J Geriatr Psychiatry

  • curated by Kelli Whitlock Burton
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Current or recent use of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine‐related drugs (BZRDs), commonly prescribed to treat a number of psychiatric disorders, was associated with an increased risk for pneumonia.
  • The risk was highest in current users of short‐ and intermediate‐acting BZRDs.

Why this matters

  • Studies of the association between BZRD use and pneumonia have yielded conflicting results.

Study design

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis included 10 observational studies/12 citations that studied the association between BZRD use and pneumonia risks (pneumonia cases; n>120,000).
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • BZRD use was significantly associated with increased risk for pneumonia (10 studies; OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.09‐1.44; I2, 97%; P<.001>
  • Increased risk for pneumonia was noted among:
    • current BZRD users (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.22‐1.6; I2, 85.2%; P<.001>
    • recent BZRD users (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.06‐1.8; I2, 87.7%; P<.001>
  • In current BZRD users, risks for pneumonia were associated with:
    • short-acting BZRD: OR, 2.06 (95% CI, 1.35-3.13; I2, 0%, P=.937) and
    • intermediate‐acting BZRD: OR, 1.32 (95% CI, 1.19‐1.46; I2, 76.4%, P <.001>

Limitations

  • Considerable heterogeneity.
  • Most studies were retrospective.

Coauthored with Chitra Ravi, MPharm

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