ORIGINAL ARTICLESUse of benzodiazepines and related drugs is associated with a risk of stroke among persons with Alzheimer’s diseaseTaipale, Heidi; Koponen, Marjaana; Tanskanen, Antti; Lavikainen, Piia; Tolppanen, Anna-Maija; Sund, Reijo; Tiihonen, Jari; Hartikainen, SirpaAuthor Information aKuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care bSchool of Pharmacy cDepartment of Forensic Psychiatry, Niuvanniemi Hospital dResearch Centre for Comparative Effectiveness and Patient Safety (RECEPS) eInstitute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland fKuopio University Hospital, Psychiatric Clinic, Kuopio gNational Institute for Health and Welfare hCentre for Research Methods, Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki iDepartment of Pharmacology, Drug Development and Therapeutics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland jDepartment of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden Correspondence to Heidi Taipale, PhD, Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland Tel: +35 844 336 1265; fax: +35 817 162 424; e-mail: email@example.com Received October 14, 2016 Accepted December 1, 2016 International Clinical Psychopharmacology: May 2017 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 135-141 doi: 10.1097/YIC.0000000000000161 Buy Metrics Abstract The aim of our study was to investigate the risk of any, ischemic, and hemorrhagic stroke associated with incident benzodiazepine and related drug (BZDR) use among community-dwelling individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Data from the MEDALZ cohort including all community-dwelling persons newly diagnosed with AD between 2005 and 2011 in Finland were utilized. Incident BZDR users were identified with a 1-year washout period for previous use. Persons with a previous stroke were excluded, resulting in a final study sample of 45 050 individuals. Incident any, ischemic, and hemorrhagic strokes were identified from the Hospital Discharge and Causes of Death registers. The risk of stroke between time on BZDRs was compared with nonuse time with Cox proportional hazard models. During the follow-up, 21.9% (N=9879) of persons started BZDR use. Compared with nonuse, BZDR use was associated with an increased risk of any stroke [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR): 1.21; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04–1.40] and ischemic stroke (aHR: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.02–1.44), but the association between BZDR use and hemorrhagic stroke did not reach significance (aHR: 1.26; 95% CI: 0.91–1.74). Z-drug use was associated with a similar risk as benzodiazepine use. In conclusion, BZDR use was associated with an increased risk of stroke among older individuals with AD. Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.