A recent study finds increases in deaths for people prescribed benzos:
We found evidence of an association between prescription of anxiolytic and hypnotic drugs and mortality over an average follow-up period of 7.6 years among more than 100 000 age and general practice matched adults. In patients who were prescribed these drugs, there was an estimated overall statistically significant doubling of the hazard of death (hazard ratio 2.08), after adjusting for a wide range of potential confounders, including physical and psychiatric comorbidities, sleep disorders, and other drugs.
Another study looks at benzo prescribing patterns:
To better understand prescribing trends in their preliminary study, Dr. Kao and his colleagues evaluated a database of 3.1 billion primary care visits documented in the National Ambulatory Medical Center Survey (NAMCS) between 2002 and 2009.
They found that 12.6% of the primary care visits involved benzodiazepine or opioid prescriptions.
After adjustment for demographic factors, payer status, psychiatric illnesses, and pain diagnoses, the prescription of benzodiazepines was found to increase by a rate of 12.5% per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.4% – 15.7%), while coprescribing with opioids increased by 12.0% per year (95% CI, 5.0% – 19.4%).
The researchers also evaluated data on 733 million emergency department visits in the same time period and found 32.4% of patients had benzodiazepine or opioid prescriptions.