Prescriptions for benzodiazepines—used to relieve anxiety, agitation or sleep problems—are on the rise in the United States, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Benzodiazepines were prescribed at 65.9 million office-based doctor visits from 2014 to 2016—a rate of 27 annual visits per 100 adults, CNN reports.
Long-term use of benzodiazepines can lead to addiction, the article notes. The drugs, including alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan), can increase the risk of hospitalization and death, particularly if they are taken with an opioid. In older adults, benzodiazepines can increase the risk of falls, and impair memory and judgment.