Benzodiazepines, the commonly prescribed sleeping pills and sedatives, may increase the risk of contracting pneumonia by as much as 50% and increase the risk of dying from it, suggests a new paper. 

Benzodiazepines have a wide range of uses and are commonly prescribed for anxiety, epilepsy, muscle spasm, and insomnia.

Benzodiazepines

are also frequently used in palliative care, as a sedative, and to help those with an alcohol problem to “dry out.” Around 2 percent of the US and UK population have taken benzodiazepines for 12 months or more, and among the elderly this prevalence rises 10 percent.

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