Recent Blog Articles

Mind & Mood

Ask the doctor: Is there a connection between sedatives and Alzheimer's?

Updated: November 13, 2014

w1214b16207251073516

Q. I read somewhere that benzodiazepines cause Alzheimer's disease. I took Valium for a few weeks after my husband died. How does this change my risk of dementia?

A. In September, a team of researchers from France and Canada reported that in people over age 66, those who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease were more likely to have used benzodiazepines—a category that includes Valium (diazepam) and similar drugs—during the preceding five years than were people who didn't have Alzheimer's. Using the drugs continuously for three to six months was associated with a 32% higher risk than using them for three months or less; using them for six months or more was associated with an 84% greater risk. People who took benzodiazepines for three months or less had no higher risk than those who had never taken them.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.