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Thorax doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-202374
  • Respiratory epidemiology
  • Original Article

The impact of benzodiazepines on occurrence of pneumonia and mortality from pneumonia: a nested case-control and survival analysis in a population-based cohort

Press Release
  1. Puja R Myles1
  1. 1Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Leucocyte Biology and Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK
  3. 3Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert D Sanders, Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, WC1N 3AR, UK; r.sanders{at}ucl.ac.uk
  • Received 3 July 2012
  • Accepted 5 October 2012
  • Published Online First 5 December 2012

Abstract

Objectives Benzodiazepines have been associated with an increased incidence of infections, and mortality from sepsis, in the critically ill. Here, we determined the effect of community use of benzodiazepines on the occurrence of, and mortality following, pneumonia.

Methods A nested case-control study using 29 697 controls and 4964 cases of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) from The Health Improvement Network, a UK primary care patient database (2001–2002), investigated the association between benzodiazepines and pneumonia occurrence using conditional logistic regression. Cox regression was then used to determine the impact of benzodiazepines on mortality in the 4964 cases of CAP. Results are presented as adjusted OR, adjusted HR and 95% CI.

Results Exposure to benzodiazepines was associated with an increased risk of pneumonia (OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.42 to 1.67). Individually diazepam, lorazepam and temazepam, but not chlordiazepoxide, were associated with an increased incidence of CAP. As a class, benzodiazepines were associated with increased 30-day (HR 1.22 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.39)) and long-term mortality (HR 1.32 (95% CI 1.19 to 1.47)) in patients with a prior diagnosis of CAP. Individually diazepam, chlordiazepoxide, lorazepam and temazepam affected long-term mortality in these patients.

Conclusions Benzodiazepines were associated with an increased risk of, and mortality from, CAP. These hypothesis generating data suggest further research is required into the immune safety profile of benzodiazepines.

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