Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Do Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin and Restoril Increase Pneumonia Risk?

ome studies have shown that benzodiazepine sedatives — including such drugs as Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin and Restoril — may increase susceptibility to infection. Might this risk extend to pneumonia?

THIS STUDY analyzed data on 34,661 people of all ages, including 5,895 who took benzodiazepines and 4,964 who developed pneumonia. People who took benzodiazepines were 54 percent more likely to have later contracted pneumonia than those who did not take the sedating drugs. Chances of dying were also greater among those who took benzodiazepines: 22 percent higher within 30 days of contracting pneumonia and 32 percent higher within about three years.

WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? People who take benzodiazepines. Commonly prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, the drugs are also used to relieve muscle spasticity, prevent seizures, calm agitation, sedate patients before surgery and ease alcohol withdrawal.