Anxiety Drug Overdoses hit Record Levels in the U.S.

More Americans than ever are overdosing on anxiety drugs

xanax
Overdoses from benzodiazepines – anxiety drugs – have increased at a much faster rate than prescriptions for the drugs, indicating that people have been taking them in a riskier way over time.

ABSTRACT

Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996–2013, American Journal of Public Health, February 18, 2016.

Objectives
To describe trends in benzodiazepine prescriptions and overdose mortality involving benzodiazepines among US adults.

Methods
We examined data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and multiple-cause-of-death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Results
Between 1996 and 2013, the percentage of adults filling a benzodiazepine prescription increased from 4.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.8%, 4.5%) to 5.6% (95% CI = 5.2%, 6.1%), with an annual percent change of 2.5% (95% CI = 2.1%, 3.0%). The quantity of benzodiazepines filled increased from 1.1 (95% CI = 0.9, 1.2) to 3.6 (95% CI = 3.0, 4.2) kilogram lorazepam equivalents per 100 000 adults (annual percent change = 9.0%; 95% CI = 7.6%, 10.3%). The overdose death rate increased from 0.58 (95% CI = 0.55, 0.62) to 3.07 (95% CI = 2.99, 3.14) per 100 000 adults, with a plateau seen after 2010.

Benzodiazepine-Related Overdose Deaths Soar, Forbes, FEB 18, 2016.

Conclusions
Benzodiazepine prescriptions and overdose mortality have increased considerably. Fatal overdoses involving benzodiazepines have plateaued overall; however, no evidence of decreases was found in any group. Interventions to reduce the use of benzodiazepines or improve their safety are needed.

Have your say ! Share your views