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Benzodiazepines in Older Adults: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness, Cost-Effectiveness, and Guidelines

Last updated: January 6, 2011
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Drug
Report Type: Peer-reviewed summary with critical appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the evidence regarding the safety of using benzodiazepines for older adults to manage disruptive behaviour or treat anxiety?
  2. What is the comparative effectiveness of benzodiazepines versus antidepressants for older adults to manage disruptive behaviour or treat anxiety?
  3. What is the cost-effectiveness of using benzodiazepines for older adults to manage disruptive behaviour or treat anxiety?
  4. What are the clinical practice guidelines regarding the use of benzodiazepines in older adults?

Key Message

There were six systematic reviews that addressed benzodiazepine use in older adults; however, no studies directly addressed the safety, comparative efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of using benzodiazepines for older adults to manage behaviour or treat anxiety. There were nine evidence-based guidelines which addressed the use of benzodiazepines in older adults for dementia, mood and behavioural disorders, panic disorder, and sleep disorders