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Use of benzodiazepines in adults with schizophrenia is associated with increased mortality

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Question: Is use of benzodiazepines, antidepressants or multiple concomitant antipsychotics associated with increased mortality in adults with schizophrenia?

People: 2588 adults aged 16–65 years hospitalised for the first time with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (62% men; mean age 37.8 years). People were excluded if they had accessed any antipsychotic prescription in the 6 months prior to their admission. Eligible individuals were identified using the Finnish National Hospital Discharged Register.

Setting: Finland; 2000–2007.

Risk factors: Use of two or more antipsychotics compared to antipsychotic monotherapy; antidepressant use compared to no antidepressant use; and benzodiazepine use compared to no benzodiazepine use. Medication use was identified from the Social Insurance Institute prescription database covering all residents of Finland. Discontinuation of medication was defined as the absence of any purchase of a prescription for the same medication within the duration of the previous prescription. Prescription data were obtained during the study period (2000–2007) and for the 4 years prior to the start of the study (1996–1999) to account for the number of previous treatments. Deaths were identified using the …

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