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A physician's guide to discontinuing benzodiazepine therapy.

Authors
  • DuPont, R L
Type
Published Article
Journal
Western Journal of Medicine
Publisher
BMJ
Publication Date
May 01, 1990
Volume
152
Issue
5
Pages
600–603
Identifiers
PMID: 1971976
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Practicing physicians need to have practical techniques to help patients who want to stop using benzodiazepines. I have developed three approaches that usually work. The first, and most widely applicable, is gradually reducing the dose without adding any other medicine. Failing this, use one of the following two approaches, occasionally combining them: switch to a longer-acting, cross-tolerant medication (usually clonazepam or phenobarbital) or use medications to suppress the withdrawal symptoms, usually carbamazepine, propranolol, or clonidine. If this fails, use inpatient detoxification. Chemically dependent patients, including those abusing alcohol and taking higher than recommended doses of sedative-hypnotics, require special care during discontinuation. Aftercare is important for all long-term benzodiazepine users if they are to remain drug-free and live relatively comfortable lives.

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