The aim of this study was to investigate the change in sedative load over time and the corresponding risk of death among community-dwelling older individuals. A random sample of 1000 individuals aged at least 75 years was invited to participate in 2004, of whom 700 were community dwelling. Demographic, diagnostic, and drug use data were obtained during annual nurse interviews. Sedative load was calculated according to a previously published model. The prevalence of sedative use increased from 29.3 to 36.1% from 2004 to 2007. In unadjusted analyses, sedative load was associated with an increased risk of death. After adjusting for clinically important covariates, sedative load was not associated with an increased risk of death [sedative load 1–2; hazard ratio 1.12 (95% confidence interval 0.76–1.64), sedative load of at least 3; hazard ratio 0.92 (95% confidence interval 0.55–1.56)]. In conclusion, sedative use increased during the follow-up but was not associated with an increased risk of death.