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Journal of Addiction:"Benzodiazepines: The Time for Systematic Change is Now"


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"Benzodiazepines:  The Time for Systematic Change is Now"






Concise Statement:  Current benzodiazepine prescribing patterns are concerning.Despite many well-established risks and guideline recommendations, benzodiazepines are widely overprescribed around the world.  A multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach to curb inappropriate prescribing is required.


Benzodiazepines were first synthesized over 60 years ago [1].  They quickly gained popularity due to an improved safety profile compared with barbiturates,and subsequently became one of the most prescribed classes of medicationsfor anxiety and insomnia [1].  Despite clinicians having a better understanding of benzodiazepines, their limitations and their risks, they remain commonly prescribed medications today [1]


Benzodiazepines are associated with serious side effects and risks including, but not limited to,cognitive impairment, falls, motor vehicle accidents, abuse, dependence [2] and all-cause mortality[3].  Older adults are more vulnerable to these risks [2].  Some data suggest long-term use may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease, while others argue this conclusion is premature [4].  On top of the risks, there is no evidence of long-term efficacy.Nevertheless, long-term use is common, has increased, accounts for 30-40% of prescribing and is more common in older adults [5]. There is evidence that only a third of prescriptions in older adults area ppropriate [2].



The paper continues. See link above for full paper.

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