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Background and Objectives Older adults receive benzodiazepines for agitation, anxiety, and insomnia after acute ischemic stroke (AIS). No trials have been conducted to determine if benzodiazepine use affects poststroke mortality in the elderly. Methods We examined the association between initiating benzodiazepines within 1 week after AIS and 30-day mortality. We included patients =65 years, admitted for new nonsevere AIS (NIH-Stroke-Severity[NIHSS]= 20), 2014–2020, with no recorded benzodiazepine use in the previous 3 months and no contraindication for use. We linked a stroke registry to electronic health records, used inverse-probability weighting to address confounding, and estimated the risk difference (RD). A process of cloning, weighting, and censoring was used to avoid immortal time bias. Results Among 2,584 patients, 389 received benzodiazepines. The crude 30-day mortality risk from treatment initiation was 212/1,000 among patients who received benzodiazepines, while the 30-day mortality was 34/1,000 among those who did not. When follow-up was aligned on day of AIS admission and immortal time was assigned to the two groups, the estimated risks were 27/1,000 and 22/1,000, respectively. Upon further adjustment for confounders, the RD was 5 (-12 to 19) deaths/1,000 patients. Conclusion The observed higher 30-day mortality associated with benzodiazepine initiation within 7 days was largely due to bias.


Moura, Lidia M. V. R., Zhiyu Yan, Maria A. Donohue, Louisa H. Smith, Lee H. Schwamm, John Hsu, Joseph P. Newhouse, Sebastien Haneuse, Deborah Blacker, and Sonia Diaz-Hernandez. "No short-term mortality from benzodiazepine use post-acute ischemic stroke after accounting for bias." Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 154 (February 2023): 136-145.