Researchers at the University of Nottingham in England have discovered that patients taking a class of commonly prescribed sleeping pills called benzodiazepines are at an increased risk of contracting and dying from pneumonia.
Scientists studied about 5,000 patients who had been diagnosed with pneumonia. They were each compared with six similar people, matched by age and sex. Patients taking benzodiazepine had a 54% increased risk of pneumonia. Those who did contract pneumonia were a fifth more likely to die within a month and a third more likely to die within three years.
Current users of the drugs were 90% more likely to contract pneumonia whereas past users were 40% more likely to contract the lung condition.
The research recently was published in Thorax, an international journal of respiratory medicine.