Benzodiazepines Are Not Safe for Long-Term Use, Says The Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices


PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On September 23rd, the FDA announced the highest level of alert about benzodiazepines when it required a boxed warning for all of these medications. This includes such familiar brand names as Valium®, Xanax®, Klonopin® and Ativan®. Today, the most complete and authoritative work in the 60-year history of benzodiazepines was released by Oxford University Press. Co-authored by a team of 12 medical professionals, The Benzodiazepines Crisis: An Overview of the Down-side of an Overused Drug Class, agrees with the FDA's assessment: benzodiazepines injure many who use these drugs as prescribed.

In its press release, the FDA noted, "Physical dependence can occur when benzodiazepines are taken steadily for several days to weeks, even as prescribed. Stopping them abruptly or reducing the dosage too quickly can result in withdrawal reactions, including seizures, which can be life-threatening."

One in eight American adults are prescribed benzodiazepines (BZDs) for anxiety, insomnia and other conditions. It is not widely known that up to 47% of BZD users become physiologically dependent on these drugs. Many of them suffer a devastating withdrawal, and some suffer long-term from Benzodiazepine Injury Syndrome, often with symptoms similar to Traumatic Brain Injury. A report commissioned by the American Psychiatric Association states that 50-65% of long-term BZD users experience recurrent anxiety, and among panic disorder patients, recurrence may be as high as 95%. Preliminary data indicates that BZD use has increased 34% in the US since the beginning of 2020 due to the stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, most medical professionals are unaware of the dangers posed by long-term use of these drugs.

From clinical presentation through neuropharmacology to treatment and prevention, The Benzodiazepines Crisis ties together the analysis of over a thousand scientific papers on benzodiazepines from every viewpoint. There is a strong linking of prescribing practices to dependence, a withdrawal that is often far worse than that experienced with opioids, and suicide.  According to the introduction,

"Benzodiazepines were developed to treat legitimate medical needs. However, unbridled success and prescribing beyond their intended duration of use and the available data has led to excessive prescribing, extended utilization beyond good therapeutic practice, and unintended adverse effects and substance use disorder. This book is the first to bring to light and discuss the largely unrecognized and enigmatic problem of an exceedingly prolonged withdrawal syndrome from benzodiazepines that can persist for months or years in susceptible patients, and the medical need for better evidence-based prescribing of benzodiazepines, and a call for the recognition and better treatment of the prolonged withdrawal syndrome…"

The Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices,, is a non-profit that is confronting the benzodiazepines crisis - a crisis hidden in plain sight. The goal of the Alliance is to make evidence-based improvements to prescribing practices and reduce the injury to patients.

The Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices

Bernard Silvernail

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SOURCE The Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices


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