I've been taking clonazepam - one of the benzos - to control anxiety. My MD prescribed up to 16 doses a day. Now a research study reported in all the major newspapers has found that seniors (of which I am one) who take benzos have a 50% greater risk of dementia than those who don't. If I wasn't feeling anxious before reading this report, I'm plenty anxious now. Of course, I won't take any more benzos. But what other medication is there to control anxiety? (I'm already on Paxil and it doesn't help much with anxiety.)
Please remember that these reports don't provide the full details of the one study that seems to indicate this troubling side effect of chronic BZ use. You know what 50% is? It's a coin toss and just as likely that if you buy a quart of milk and bring it home 50% of the time (maybe) it will be sour.
The media looks for the sensational report and when it comes to anxiety they know they can turn people's heads because anxiety does that. Anyone with the least bit of anxiety about their cognitive abilities and concerned about thwarting SDAT or dementia will hear/read the reports and react. They'll seek out more media reports to firm up their beliefs and then they will stay away from whatever treatment was discussed. Remember the red wine stories? First it was good, then it wasn't good and then there was an ingredient that would be helpful that WAS in the wine. Same thing with supplements, hormone replacement therapy, CA treatments and yet no one is writing about the real dangers of CAT scans that expose the person to the equivalent of 200-500 x-rays and believed to contribute to the incidence of cancer.
Talk to your doc about any medications you need. Many medications have the potential to affect your cognition, but you need them, so you take that 50-50 chance they all carry.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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