An observational study (Thorax) looked at the effects of BZDs, and the non-BZD Zopiclone, to determine if they were associated with an increased risk of pneumonia and mortality from pneumonia.
The results found that, after adjusting for potential confounding factors (including current smoking, presence of lung disease, depression, psychosis, co-morbidity, deprivation score and previous pneumonia episodes) there was a significant association (54% increased risk) seen between BZD use and increase in pneumonia risk. No interactions were found with age or gender for drug exposure.
Diazepam, Lorazepam and Temazepam were associated with an increased risk of pneumonia. The use of Zopiclone also showed a higher risk (98% increased risk) of pneumonia.
Use of BZDs was also associated with an increased risk of 30 days mortality and long-term mortality following pneumonia compared with the controls (placebo).
(source: National Medicines Information Centre)