In a recent cohort study, the relationship benzodiazepines versus alternative medications prescribed for sleep disorders and increased risk of drug overdose in adolescents was examined. The study included participants diagnosed with a sleeping disorder between the age of 10 to 29 years of age between January 2009 to December 2018. There were 23,084 participants who were taking benzodiazepines and 66,706 participants using different pharmacologic treatments. Drug overdoses were identified from inpatient and emergency department records within 6 months of treatment initiation. The crude incidence of drug overdose at 6 months was 0.9%for benzodiazepine initiators and 0.8%for comparator treatment initiators. In adjusted analyses, an increased risk of drug overdose was associated with benzodiazepines vs comparator treatments (intention-to-treat analysis: HR, 1.25 [95%CI, 1.03-1.51]; as-treated analysis: HR, 1.44 [95%CI, 1.14-1.80]). This association was stronger in young people with a recent opioid prescription fill versus those without a recent opioid prescription fill. The results suggest that benzodiazepines, compared to alternative pharmacologic treatments for sleep disorders, were associated with an increased risk of drug overdose among young people during the following 6-month period, particularly among those with a recent opioid prescription. Future studies are needed.
Bushnell GA, Gerhard T, Keyes K, et al. JAMA Network 2022; 5(11):e2243215. Abstract.
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