0
Article |

Long-term Therapeutic Use of Benzodiazepines:  I. Effects of Abrupt Discontinuation

Karl Rickels, MD; Edward Schweizer, MD; W. George Case, MD; David J. Greenblatt, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(10):899-907. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810220015002.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

• We compared the effect of abrupt discontinuation of therapeutic doses of short half-life and long half-life benzodiazepines in 57 benzodiazepine-dependent patients (daily use, >1 year). Despite the use of a mean daily dose of 14.1 mg of diazepam equivalents, there were notable residual symptoms of anxiety and depression present at intake (Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety score, 17.0: Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score, 14.0). Benzodiazepine intake was stabilized for 3 weeks before double-blind assignment to placebo (n = 47), or continued benzodiazepine use (n = 10). Clinical assessments were performed daily, including benzodiazepine plasma levels. Depending on the outcome criteria used, anywhere from 58% to 100% of patients were judged to have experienced a withdrawal reaction, with a peak severity at 2 days for short half-life and 4 to 7 days for long half-life benzodiazepines. Relapse onto benzodiazepines occurred in 27% of patients who were receiving long half-life benzodiazepines and in 57% of patients who were receiving short halflife benzodiazepines. Baseline predictors of relapse were nonpanic diagnoses, a higher benzodiazepine dose, and a higher Eysenck neuroticism score. A short half-life and higher daily doses were associated with greater withdrawal severity, as were personality traits, such as dependency and neuroticism, less education and higher baseline levels of anxious and depressive symptoms. Patients who were able to remain free of benzodiazepines for at least 5 weeks obtained lower levels of anxiety than before benzodiazepine discontinuation. These results provide a detailed picture of the symptoms, time course, and multidimensional determinants of the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Topics

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

Figures

Tables

References

Correspondence

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Jobs
brightcove.createExperiences();