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Sleeping pills linked to pneumonia study

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Monday 10th December 2012

It has been found in a recently published study that sleeping pills that are being used by more that 1 million people in Britain may increase the users risk of contracting pneumonia.

Drugs such as diazepam and temazepam have been linked with a higher risk of developing the lung infection. In the study conducted by Nottingham University researchers compared 5000 patients that has been diagnosed with pneumonia between 2001-2002 with 6 similar people, matched for age and sex and drawn from the same GP practise who had not been diagnosed with pneumonia.

The findings, published in the journal Thorax showed that patients that were currently using the drug were 90% more likely to have contracted pneumonia. Patients who had been prescribed them in 1-3 moths ago were 95% more likely to have the infection and past users were 40% more likely. The study also evaluated the different drugs and diazepam, lorazepam and temazepam were all associated with an increased risk with pneumonia, along with non-benzodiazepine called zopiclone. Chlordiazepoxide was found to be safe and not linked to an increased risk of pneumonia.

More research needs to be conducted to understand why there is a link and to find out whether these findings are cause and effect or if there is another explanation.

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