Treatment of heart failure patients with anxiolytics is associated with adverse outcomes, with and without depression

Donna R. Zwas, Andre Keren, Offer Amir, Israel Gotsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Few studies have evaluated the effect of pharmacologic treatment of anxiety on outcomes in heart failure (HF) patients. This study examined the impact of treatment with anxiolytics on clinical outcomes in a real-world sample of HF patients with and without depression. Methods: Patients diagnosed with HF were retrieved from a large HMO database. Patients prescribed anxiolytic medication and patients diagnosed with depression and/or prescribed anti-depressant medication were followed for cardiac-related hospitalizations and death. Results: The study cohort included 6293 HF patients. Treatment with anxiolytics was associated with decreased one-year survival compared to untreated individuals, with a greater reduction in survival seen in patients diagnosed with depression and/or treated with anti-depressants. Multi-variable analysis adjusting for age, sex, NYHA class, cardiac risk factors and laboratory parameters found that treatment with anxiolytics remained a predictor of mortality even when adjusting for depression. Depression combined with anxiolytic treatment was predictive of increased mortality, and treatment with anxiolytics alone, depression alone and anxiolytic treatment together with depression were each associated with an increased hazard ratio for a composite outcome of death and hospitalization. Conclusions: In this real-world study of HF patients, both treatment with anxiolytics and depression were associated with increased mortality, and anxiolytic therapy remained a predictor of mortality when adjusting for depression. Treatment of anxiety together with depression was associated with the highest risk of mortality. Safe and effective treatment for anxiety and depression is warranted to alleviate the detrimental impact of these disorders on quality and of life and adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3967
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 7 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Heart failure
  • Outcome


Dive into the research topics of 'Treatment of heart failure patients with anxiolytics is associated with adverse outcomes, with and without depression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this