Expert advice

Medicines management: Is it safe to prescribe both benzodiazepines and opiate analgesics for older people with Alzheimer’s?

Why nurse prescribers must take care in prescribing benzodiazepines and opiate analgesics together

Why nurse prescribers must take care in prescribing benzodiazepines and opiate analgesics together

A study in Finland has raised concerns over the concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opiate analgesics in older people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, which involved more than 70,000 people in Finland diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease between 2005 and 2011, found that one in five who use a benzodiazepine are also concomitant users of an opioid.

Around half of all concomitant users were long-term users of these medicines whose use of the drugs had continued for more than three consecutive months.

High-risk groups

The researchers found that prolonged use of both of these types of medicines was associated with previous hip fractures, osteoporosis and lung disease. The study also showed that in these high-risk groups the concomitant use of opioids and benzodiazepines or related drugs

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