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July 16, 1982

Tranquilizers and Decline in Cardiovascular Mortality

Author Affiliations

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark

JAMA. 1982;248(3):306. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330030020004

To the Editor.—  I wish to comment on the article "Meaning of the Downward Trend in Cardiovascular Mortality" (1982;247:877). The substantial decline in cardiovascular mortality since the mid-1960s is hypothesized to be due to a combination of changes in diet, smoking, treatment of hypertension, and increased physical activity. The article also mentioned that "a strong case can be made for influences operating in the entire population because the effect has been universal in both sexes, blacks as well as whites, and in all age groups."It appears that emotional stress as a major risk factor has been overlooked. Could it be, and I consider it likely, that we owe this reversal of cardiovascular mortality and risk reduction at least partially to the introduction and widespread use of minor tranquilizers, particularly the benzodiazepines? Observations in the experimental laboratory, in the animal kingdom, and in epidemiologic surveys all attest to the validity