Benzodiazepines raise risk of dementia

Elderly patients who begin taking a benzodiazepine after the age of 65 are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia within 15 years, compared with those who have never taken the drug, a study finds.

The finding is another blow to the safety profile of the widely-prescribed anxiety and insomnia drugs, which have previously been shown to induce serious falls and fall-related fractures.

The small French study of more than 1000 patients, published Friday in the BMJ