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Results of a Canadian study about the prescribing of benzodiazepines to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sufferers were recently published in Drug Safety Monitor. COPD is a disease of the lungs that constricts airways, making it difficult to breath. Patients with COPD usually suffer from emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Benzodiazepines are typically prescribed to help with symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and shortness of breath, and include medications such as Klonopin, Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Serax. But these drugs also have known side effects which can be dangerous to COPD patients, particularly respiratory-related side effects which affect a patient’s breathing ability. These drugs also affect a patient’s night oxygen levels. Other side effects include decrease alertness, memory loss, falling and increased risk of car accidents.
Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, a respirologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario and lead author of the study said researchers found that almost 40 percent of new prescriptions of benzodiazepines are written when there is an “exacerbated episode of COPD”. Vozoris said patients need to be educated to the side effects and doctors need to rethink who they are prescribing these drugs to. “These findings are new and they are concerning because they tell us that the patients most at risk to be affected by the adverse effects of this drug are the same ones that are using it with the most frequency,” said Vozoris.
If you’ve suffered injuries caused by being prescribed medication with severe side effects, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney today to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for your pain and loss.
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