Associations between Benzodiazepine Use and Neuropsychological Test Scores in Older Adults.
Benzodiazepines are widely prescribed for anxiety, although use of this class of medications has been associated with dependency and cognitive changes. This article describes the study in which we investigated the relationship between the class of benzodiazepine available for use and associated performance on neuropsychological tests in a community sample of 1,754 older Canadians from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. Benzodiazepines were classified as short-, intermediate-, and long-acting. Associations were calculated between each class of benzodiazepine and eight neuropsychological measures, using multiple regression analysis and controlling for demographic variables. Results showed different effects of the co-variates across the three drug classes, and short half-life benzodiazepines were not associated with any neuropsychological measure. Intermediate half-life and long half-life benzodiazepine use were each associated with two measures. Increased focus on specific domains of cognitive function is needed to improve our understanding of how benzodiazepine use influences cognition.
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