Benzodiazepine use and physical disability in community-dwelling older adults

Shelly L. Gray*, Andrea Z. LaCroix, Joseph T. Hanlon, Brenda Wjh Penninx, David K. Blough, Suzanne G. Leveille, Margaret B. Artz, Jack M. Guralnik, Dave M. Buchner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether benzodiazepine use is associated with incident disability in mobility and activities of daily living (ADLs) in older individuals. DESIGN: A prospective cohort study. SETTING: Four sites of the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly. PARTICIPANTS: This study included 9,093 subjects (aged ≥65) who were not disabled in mobility or ADLs at baseline. MEASUREMENTS: Mobility disability was defined as inability to walk half a mile or climb one flight of stairs. ADL disability was defined as inability to perform one or more basic ADLs (bathing, eating, dressing, transferring from a bed to a chair, using the toilet, or walking across a small room). Trained interviewers assessed outcomes annually. RESULTS: At baseline, 5.5% of subjects reported benzodiazepine use. In multivariable models, benzodiazepine users were 1.23 times as likely as nonusers (95% confidence interval (CI)=1.09-1.39) to develop mobility disability and 1.28 times as likely (95% CI=1.09-1.52) to develop ADL disability. Risk for incident mobility was increased with short- (hazard ratio (HR)=1.27, 95% CI=1.08-1.50) and long-acting benzodiazepines (HR=1.20, 95% CI=1.03-1.39) and no use. Risk for ADL disability was greater with short- (HR=1.58, 95% CI=1.25-2.01) but not long-acting (HR=1.11, 95% CI=0.89-1.39) agents than for no use. CONCLUSION: Older adults taking benzodiazepines have a greater risk for incident mobility and ADL disability. Use of short-acting agents does not appear to confer any safety benefits over long-acting agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume54
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006

Cite this

Gray, S. L., LaCroix, A. Z., Hanlon, J. T., Penninx, B. W., Blough, D. K., Leveille, S. G., ... Buchner, D. M. (2006). Benzodiazepine use and physical disability in community-dwelling older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54(2), 224-230. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.00571.x