Discontinuing Long-term Benzodiazepines

Peter M. Yellowlees, MBBS, MD


July 10, 2014

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This is the Medscape Psychiatry Minute. I'm Dr. Peter Yellowlees. Benzodiazepines are extensively used in primary care, but their long-term use is associated with adverse health outcomes and dependence. Now a team of investigators[1] from Spain have conducted a multicenter, 3-arm cluster, randomized controlled trial in primary care to analyze the efficacy of 2 structured interventions to enable patients to discontinue long-term benzodiazepine use. A total of 532 patients taking benzodiazepines for at least 6 months were randomly allocated to usual care, a structured intervention with follow-up visits, or a structured intervention with written instructions. The researchers found that both interventions led to significant reductions in long-term benzodiazepine use (45% cessation) compared with controls (15% cessation), and that the structured intervention with a written individualized stepped-dose reduction was the most time-efficient approach. This is an important study that merits widespread implementation in clinical practice. This article is selected from Medscape Best Evidence. I'm Dr. Peter Yellowlees.


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