Dec 6, 2012 12:22 PM by NBC News
Some of the most widely prescribed medications for insomnia and anxiety may raise the risk of contracting pneumonia.
A new study found people taking Valium, Ativan or Restoril were 54% more likely to get pneumonia than those not taking these drugs.
They also had a 22% higher risk of dying from the infection.
Researchers say the drugs appear to weaken the immune system and have also been linked to a increased risk of infections and death from sepsis in critically ill patients.
Nearly 2% of Americans and one in ten elderly patients have taken these medications for at least a year.
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