Benzodiazepine use raises risk of pneumonia

Researchers in the UK drew on a database of millions of patient records to conduct a case-control study of links between benzodiazepines and the non-benzodiazepine zopiclone, which also activates GABA receptors, to shed light on their immune suppressing effects.

They found use of benzodiazepines as a class was associated with a 54% increased risk of pneumonia and 32% increased risk of mortality.

Zopiclone was also linked to increased risk of infection and death, they found.

The study looked at nearly 5000 cases of pneumonia among people of all ages and nearly 30,000 matched controls in a GP database covering the entire UK.

“This makes our findings applicable to the general population and ensures no recall bias as exposures were recorded prospectively before the diagnosis of pneumonia,” the authors said.

They called for further studies to confirm the findings and noted that benzodiazepines that are selective for GABA