After more than 60 years of prescribing benzodiazepines, clinicians and patients alike share a conflicted and complicated relationship with these agents. Over the years, as health care practitioners have gained clinical experience with benzodiazepines and more insight into their mechanism of action, the potential for abuse and dependence became apparent as did issues around the effects of benzodiazepines on cognition and the elderly. There is now an appreciation for the increased risk of accidental overdose and death when benzodiazepines are combined with other sedating medications, and an elevated risk for dementia with long-term use. Pharmacists can play a key role in providing education to patients and providers about the value of avoiding benzodiazepines, alternative, safer and more effective agents, and often helping to directly or indirectly assist in the difficult process of tapering such agents.
CPNP has developed a free toolkit that provides tips and guidance in the following areas of Benzodiazepine Taper:
Authored by CPNP members Jeff Gold, PharmD, BCPP and Kristina Ward, PharmD, BCPS, BCPP, this guide is intended to highlight both the evidence base available as well as strategies of clinical decision making used by expert clinicians.