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Impact of benzodiazepines on pneumonia

13 Mar, 13 | by kuppell

Benzodiazepines are associated with an increased risk of, and mortality from, community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) suggesting further research is required into the immune safety profile of benzodiazepines, according to a study published in Thorax. Using data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database, British researchers identified 29,697 controls and 4964 cases of CAP. They used conditional logistic regression to investigate the association between benzodiazepines and pneumonia occurrence, and Cox regression to determine the impact of benzodiazepines on mortality in the 4964 cases of CAP.

The researchers report that: ‘Exposure to benzodiazepines was associated with an increased risk of pneumonia (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.42 to 1.67). Individually diazepam, lorazepam and temazepam, but not chlordiazepoxide, were associated with an increased incidence of CAP’. They also found that, as a class, benzodiazepines were associated with increased 30-day (HR 1.22 [95% CI 1.06 to 1.39]) and long-term mortality (HR 1.32 [95% CI 1.19 to 1.47]) in patients with a prior diagnosis of CAP. Individually diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, lorazepam and temazepam affected long-term mortality in these patients. ‘Given the widespread use of benzodiazepine drugs, further studies are required to evaluate their safety in the context of infection’, add the researchers. Thorax 2013;68:163-170.

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