Benzodiazepine (BZDs) and Z-drugs (BZDRs) are among the most commonly given pharmaceuticals for anxiety and sleeplessness, particularly among the elderly. For a study, researchers sought to determine the link between the usage of BZDRs and the development of dementia. A community-based retrospective cohort research was done using data from the Catalan Health Service from 2002 to 2015. All BZDR users (N=83,138) and nonusers (N=84,652) over the age of 45 were included in the cohort. The data was analyzed using a minimum 5-year lag window and an adjustment for mental issues.

The hazard ratio (HR) for incident dementia among BZDR users was 1.22 (95% CI=1.15 to 1.31). After correcting for data confounding variables, this risk was no longer significant (HR=1.01; 95% CI=0.94 to 1.08). Short-to-intermediate half-life BZDs (HR=1.11; 95% CI=1.04 to 1.20) and Z-drugs (HR=1.20; 95% CI=1.07 to 1.33) were associated with a higher risk than intermediate-to-long half-life BZDs (HR=1.01; 95% CI=0.94 to 1.08). They found that patients who received 91 to 180 defined daily doses (DDDs) and >180 DDDs had a higher risk of incident dementia (HR=1.23; 95% CI=1.07 to 1.41 and odds ratio=1.38; 95% CI=1.27 to 1.50, respectively) than patients who received 90< DDD. In terms of patient gender, women had a greater risk of dementia than males. They discovered that the prevalence of dementia was not greater in all BZDR users. At the highest dosages, short half-life BZDs and Z-drugs increased the risk of dementia, particularly in female patients, demonstrating a dose-response association.

Reference:academic.oup.com/ijnp/article/25/4/261/6417179