Mailbag! Urgent New Alzheimer’s Warning

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

You’ve got questions…

We’ve got answers!

If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you know how quickly their health can go downhill.

Even worse, some of the most popular drugs prescribed for Alzheimer’s symptoms can make patients sicker… and maybe even kill them.

In fact, there’s one class of drugs that’s endangering the lives of countless Alzheimer’s patients right now. This is an urgent warning that all Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers need to hear.

Let’s dive in…

Hi Natalie,

My mom has Alzheimer’s. The doctor has prescribed Xanax to help with her agitation and anxiety. It seems to work, but ever since she started taking it, she’s come down with pneumonia twice. Do you know if there’s some connection?


Sherri S.

Unfortunately, Sherri, you may have hit the nail on the head.

Let’s start with the basics about pneumonia…

Pneumonia is a sometimes deadly lung infection that is more common among the elderly.

All forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s, increase the risk of developing pneumonia. But once you combine pneumonia with anxiety drugs like Xanax, you’re looking at a potentially deadly combination.

You see, according to research out of Finland, folks who suffer from Alzheimer’s and take benzodiazepines, like Xanax, are at increased risk for pneumonia.

In a recent study, scientists from the University of Eastern Finland sifted through medical data on nearly 50,000 adults who suffered from Alzheimer’s and were taking benzodiazepines.

After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that Alzheimer’s patients who took benzodiazepines had a 30 percent increased risk of developing pneumonia.

This means taking benzodiazepines while suffering from Alzheimer’s could up your risk of suffering from this deadly infection by nearly a third.

The same study found that other sedatives called Z-drugs didn’t increase pneumonia risk. But that doesn’t mean they are a good alternative. This class of drugs, including Ambien, come with their fair share of risks, including confusion and hallucinations — perhaps not the best solution for anyone already having cognitive issues (or anyone, for that matter).

One way to help quell anxiety without drugs is with passionflower extract. A few studies show it can help you reduce your anxiety as well as some benzodiazepines.

You can find passionflower extract at natural health stores or at Be sure to check with your doc before starting or stopping an anti-anxiety medication or supplement.

Do you have health questions you want answered? Drop me a line:

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily

Ed. Note: Please send your feedback: – and click here to like us on Facebook.


[1] Risk Factors

[2] Common sedatives linked to increased risk of pneumonia in people with Alzheimer’s disease

[3] Common sedatives raise pneumonia risk in Alzheimer’s patients

[4] Passionflower

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

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