Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

The Association Between Benzodiazepine Use and Depression Outcomes in Older Veterans.

Leggett A, Kavanagh J, Zivin K, Chiang C, Kim HM, Kales HC. The Association Between Benzodiazepine Use and Depression Outcomes in Older Veterans. Journal of geriatric psychiatry and neurology. 2015 Dec 1; 28(4):281-7.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Benzodiazepines (BZDs) are commonly prescribed to older adults with depression, but it is unknown whether they improve antidepressant (AD) adherence or depressive symptoms. We followed 297 older veterans diagnosed with depression and provided a new AD medication prospectively for 4 months. Data include validated self-report measures and VA pharmacy records. At initial assessment, 20.5% of participants were prescribed a BZD. Those with a BZD prescription at baseline were significantly more likely than those without to have a personality disorder, schizophrenia spectrum disorder, or other anxiety disorder, and higher depressive symptom and anxiety symptom scale scores on average. In adjusted regressions, BZD use was not significantly associated with AD adherence, any improvement in depressive symptoms, or a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms. Our results suggest BZD use concurrent with AD treatment does not significantly improve depressive outcomes in older veterans.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.