Benzodiazepine use and mortality of incident dialysis patients in the United States

Kidney Int. 2007 Dec;72(11):1388-93. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Sep 12.


Benzodiazepines and other omega-receptor agonists are frequently used for sleep and anxiety disorders. We studied the rates, correlates, and safety of individual benzodiazepines and zolpidem use from the records of 3690 patients in a national cohort of Dialysis Morbidity and Mortality Study Wave 2 data. We assessed drug utilization and an association between drug use and all-cause mortality. Overall, 14% of incident dialysis patients used a benzodiazepine or zolpidem. Women, Caucasians, current smokers, and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were more likely to use these drugs, whereas patients with cerebrovascular disease were less likely to use these drugs. In adjusted analyses, benzodiazepine or zolpidem use was associated with a 15% higher mortality rate. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease significantly modified this association, suggesting that these patients were at higher risk. No association was found between benzodiazepine use and greater risk for hip fracture. We conclude that benzodiazepine or zolpidem use is common in incident dialysis patients and may be associated with greater mortality. Further studies are needed to elucidate the safety of these drugs in the dialysis population, which may lead to cautious and restrictive utilization of omega-receptor agonists in dialysis patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip Fractures / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Peritoneal Dialysis / mortality*
  • Pyridines / adverse effects
  • Pyridines / therapeutic use
  • Renal Dialysis / mortality*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Zolpidem


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Pyridines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Zolpidem