What are Benzodiazepines (BZDs)?
Benzodiazepines are medications that lower the activity of the nerves in the brain and cause you to be drowsy.1
- Benzodiazepines should be used carefully under close direction of a prescriber.
- Not using benzodiazepines for the right reason or using them for too long can lead to dependence, addiction, severe side effects, or even death.
- Stopping benzodiazepines should be done by slowly lowering the dose over weeks to months with careful direction from a prescriber to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Griffin CE, Kaye AM, Bueno FR, Kaye AD. Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System–Mediated Effects. The Ochsner Journal. 2013;13(2):214-223.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prescription CNS Depressants. NIDA. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants. Published March 6, 2018. Accessed September 4, 2018.
- National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) in adults: management in primary, secondary and community care. 2011. (Clinical guideline 113.) http://guidance.nice.org.uk/CG113.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. Types of Medications. NAMI. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication. Accessed September 4, 2018.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Benzodiazepines and Opioids. NIDA. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids. Published March 15, 2018. Accessed September 4, 2018.
- U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Drug Safety and Availability. FDA. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm518473.htm. Publish September 20, 2017. Access October 29, 2018.
- SAMHSA. (2011). Benzodiazepine Abuse Treatment Admissions Have Tripled from 1998 to 2008.
- National Institute of Health. (2018). Overdose Death Rates.
- Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310654/