Some Seniors Being Overprescribed Sedatives
In some parts of the United States, primary care doctors may be overprescribing sedatives known as benzodiazepines to older adults. Researchers analyzed Medicare claims for prescriptions in 2015 made by over 100,000 primary care doctors. In some parts of the country—such as the Deep South and rural western states—such prescriptions were nearly three times more common than in other areas. Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, Ativan, and Valium, can help ease anxiety or insomnia when used for about two to six weeks, but they shouldn’t be used longer than that because they can cloud thinking and raise the risk for falls and other accidents. If you’ve been taking one of these drugs for a long time, ask your doctor if you should stop.
Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine, published online Oct. 18, 2018