June 16, 2024

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Sedative-hypnotic drugs associated with Brain Damage Employment and Suicide

Sedative-hypnotic drugs associated with Brain Damage Employment and Suicide

Sedative-hypnotic drugs associated with Brain Damage Employment and Suicide.

A widely used class of sedative-hypnotic drugs called benzodiazepines has been found to be associated with brain damage, unemployment and suicide.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found a link between the use of benzodiazepines and long-term neurological complications.

According to a recent study by researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the use and discontinuation of benzodiazepines are associated with harm to the nervous system and negative impacts on life after withdrawal.

The study results were recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.


Sedative-hypnotic drugs associated with Brain Damage Employment and Suicide


Alexis Ritvo, MD, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and medical director of the Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices, a non-profit organization, said: “Despite decades of widespread prescribing of benzodiazepines, this survey provides important new evidence that a subset of patients experience long-term neurological complications. This should change our view of benzodiazepines and how we prescribe them.”

“For over 60 years, patients have reported long-term effects from benzodiazepines. I am one of those patients. Despite taking the medication as prescribed, I still experience symptoms every day four years after discontinuing benzodiazepines. Our survey and the new term BIND reflect the patient experience and point to the need for further investigation,” said Christy Huff, MD, a cardiologist and co-director of Benzodiazepine Information Coalition, one of the co-authors of the paper.

The survey was a collaboration between the University of Colorado Boulder Anschutz Medical Campus, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and several patient-led advocacy groups that raise awareness about the harms of benzodiazepines. Several members of the research team have personal experience with taking benzodiazepines, which informed the formulation of the survey questions.

Symptoms lasted for a long time, with 76.6% of positive responses to symptom questions indicating that symptoms lasted for months or more than a year. The following 10 symptoms lasted for more than a year in more than half of respondents: lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, anxiety, insomnia, sensitivity to light and sound, digestive problems, food-triggered symptoms, muscle weakness and body pain.

Of particular concern was that these symptoms were often new and different from the symptoms that initially led to the prescription of benzodiazepines. In addition, most respondents reported long-term negative impacts on various aspects of their lives, such as severe impairment in interpersonal relationships, unemployment and increased medical costs. Notably, 54.4% of respondents had suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide.

Neurological dysfunction (BIND) is thought to be the result of changes in the brain caused by exposure to benzodiazepines. A literature review suggests that about one-fifth of long-term users experience this condition. The risk factors for BIND are unclear and more research is needed to further define this condition and treatment options.

Previous studies have used different terms to describe this damage, with the most well-known probably being protracted withdrawal. As part of the study, a scientific review committee unified these names under benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction to better describe the condition.

To better characterize BIND, Ritvo and his colleagues analyzed previously published survey data from current and past users of benzodiazepines who reported symptoms and adverse effects on their lives due to their use of benzodiazepines. The survey targeted 1,207 benzodiazepine users from benzodiazepine support groups and health and wellness websites, making it the largest survey of its kind. Respondents included people who were taking benzodiazepines (63.2%), tapering off (24.4%) or completely off (11.3%). Almost all respondents had a prescription for benzodiazepines (98.6%), with 91% of respondents mostly taking them as prescribed.



Sedative-hypnotic drugs associated with Brain Damage Employment and Suicide

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