Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Anxiety drug linked to higher risk of dying

  • Comment

Patients who take drugs to treat insomnia or anxiety could be increasing their risk of dying by more than a third, according to new research.

According to a study of more than 14,000 people, it was found that those who took drugs to treat the conditions at least once a month had a 36% higher likelihood of dying from any cause.

Scientists at the Laval University School of Psychology, in Canada, took into account a number of factors. These included whether people drank or smoked heavily, were fit and took exercise, or whether they were depressed. Led by Genevieve Belleville, the research took into account data of people aged 18 to 102, who were surveyed every year between 1994 and 2007.

One suggested reason for the effect is that sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs affect people’s response times, alertness, and co-ordination. This may make them more prone to falls and other accidents.

Another theory is that they interfere with the breathing system and affect any breathing problems as the person sleeps.

The medicines also work on the central nervous system, possibly increasing the risk of suicide.

Dr Belleville said people should consider a type of talking therapy, called cognitive behavioural therapy, instead.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.