Benzodiazepine tranquilizers and the risk of accidental injury

Am J Public Health. 1990 Dec;80(12):1467-70. doi: 10.2105/ajph.80.12.1467.


To determine whether benzodiazepine tranquilizers increase the risk of accidental injury requiring medical attention, we used pharmacy claims submitted to a large third-party payer to identify 4,554 persons who had been prescribed these agents and a matched control group of 13,662 persons who had been prescribed drugs other than benzodiazepines. We then used diagnoses recorded on claims submitted by medical care providers to identify all accident-related care received by these persons during three months before their first-observed prescription for a benzodiazepine or nonbenzodiazepine agent, respectively, and six months subsequently. We found accident-related care was more likely among persons who had been prescribed benzodiazepines; among these persons, the probability of an accident-related medical encounter was higher during months in which a prescription for a benzodiazepine had recently been filled compared to other months; and persons who had filled three or more prescriptions for these agents in the six months following initiation of therapy had a significantly higher risk of an accident-related medical event than those who had filled only one such prescription. Approximately two-fold risks of accident-related care were found, after controlling for age, sex, and prior utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / adverse effects*
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines