Alzheimer’s patients given sedatives such as Valium or Xanax may have an increased risk for pneumonia, a new study warns.
People with Alzheimer’s disease are often given these drugs, called benzodiazepines, over the long term, the researchers said. Examples of benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan).
“An increased risk of pneumonia is an important finding to consider in treatment of patients with Alzheimer disease. Pneumonia often leads to admission to hospital, and patients with dementia are at increased risk of death related to pneumonia,” Dr. Heidi Taipale, of Kuopio Research Center of Geriatric Care at the University of Eastern Finland, and co-authors wrote.
For the study, the researchers reviewed data from nearly 50,000 Alzheimer’s patients in Finland. The patients’ average age was 80 and about two-thirds were women. The study found that people with Alzheimer’s who took benzodiazepines were 30 percent more likely to develop pneumonia than those who weren’t given the sedatives.
Increased Risk of Pneumonia in Patients Taking Drugs
The risk of pneumonia was highest in the first 30 days after starting the drugs, the findings showed. The researchers said their findings are consistent with previous studies. Because benzodiazepines are sedating, it’s possible that people taking them may breathe saliva or food into the lungs, increasing the risk of pneumonia, the study authors suggested.
Taipale’s team said the benefits and risks of these drugs — including pneumonia — need to be carefully considered before giving them to someone with Alzheimer’s disease. The study was published April 10 in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
The study is “a good reminder to clinicians to ‘first do no harm’ when prescribing these drugs for frail older women and men with dementia,” Dr. Paula Rochon and her co-authors wrote in an accompanying editorial in the journal. Rochon is from Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto.
Non-drug “approaches should be the starting point when managing neuropsychiatric symptoms in this patient population, which should help to limit inappropriate use of these drugs,” the editorial authors said.
SOURCE: CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), news release, April 10, 2017
News stories are written and provided by HealthDay and do not reflect federal policy, the views of MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Additional Topics: Understanding Mild Brain Injury
Brain injuries are common complications in our modern world. Approximately 2 million individuals experience a head injury in the United States alone each year. Although most brain or head injuries are not considered life threatening, they could sum up to billions of dollars in annual revenue. Brain injuries are often categorized according to patient response. Only 1 out of 4 reported brain injuries are considered moderate or severe.
Post Disclaimer *
The information herein on "Alzheimer's Patient Drugs Can Increase Risk of Pneumonia" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez DC or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card