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Despite Risks, Older Adults More Likely to Use Benzodiaepines for Help Sleeping

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Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Older adults are more likely to use benzodiazepines for help sleeping, a new study says, which could put them at risk of injury.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, older adults are more likely to use benzodiazepines than young adults. While 5.2 percent of Americans aged 18 to 80 use the drugs, such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan, the percentage increased along with age. Among adults aged 18 to 35, just 2.6 percent used the drugs, while 8.7 percent between 65 and 80 years old used benzodiazepines.

Researchers also say that the proportion of long-term use of the drugs increased with age. Previous research suggested that older adults receiving the drugs may lead to increased risk of falls, fractures and motor vehicle crashes.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio