Severe Collateral Damage
The magnitude of the health problem caused by doctors prescribing benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine agonists (1) in an uncritical way or to do patients a favor is revealed by this review. If 50% of the 230 million daily doses of these drugs are prescribed privately, even for patients who have statutory health insurance, it has to be assumed that the proportion of patients whose intake is problematic and lasts longer than four weeks is significantly underestimated with 20%. Unfortunately, of the many negative effects, the authors only address the problem of dependence.
A study by a Canadian working group recently published in the British Medical Journal demonstrated a clear association between the prolonged intake of benzodiazepines and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease among elderly patients (2). Thus it could well be that, besides the common mistake of not recognizing arteriosclerotic encephalopathy, this explains the epidemic increase in the number of people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease—a reason that has nothing to do with extended life expectancy. It would not be the first time that an extensively researched idiopathic disease turns out to be a massive iatrogenic collateral damage.
PD Dr. med. Gerd Reuther
Conflict of interest statement
The author declares that no conflict of interest exists.
|1.||Janhsen K, Roser P, Hoffmann K: The problems of long-term treatment with benzodiazepines and related substances—prescribing practice, epidemiology and the treatment of withdrawal. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2015; 112: 1–7 VOLLTEXT|
|2.||Billioti de Gage S, Moride Y, Ducruet T, Kurth T, et al.: Benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: case-control study. BMJ 2014; 349: g5205 CrossRefMEDLINE PubMed Central|