Danger with Long Term Benzodiazepine Use in the Elderly

Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Halcion, are commonly prescribed to older adults for insomnia or anxiety, but they are drugs about which there’s also a lot of reason to worry about overuse.

They are dangerous because they interfere with balance, in particular, so they make people susceptible to falls, and may contribute to confusion and other kinds of cognitive impairments.

Several guidelines and expert consensus statements have cautioned against benzodiazepine use for longer periods, especially in older populations.


JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(2):136-142