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Benzodiazepines come with significant risks. Make your patients aware of them.

Benzodiazepine use has increased 34% since the pandemic began. These drugs have been commonly prescribed — too often without a plan to taper or discontinue use.

Risks include:

  • Drug dependence in as little as two months
  • Commonly diverted or taken outside bounds of prescription
  • Can be life-threatening when combined with alcohol or other painkillers
  • One-third of opioid overdose deaths involve benzodiazepines
  • Risk of dementia later in life

A care plan should include:

  • Tapering schedule
  • Discussion of alternative treatments
  • Patient education regarding risks
  • Encouragement and supportive communications from providers
  • Referral to a specialist if the patient has a history of alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder
  • Treatment recommendations for withdrawal symptoms

Doctor with patient

Delaware’s Benzodiazepine and Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotics Prescribing Law now requires you to obtain a parental signature when prescribing to those 18 years of age and younger.

Signed into law in September 2018, this bill requires practitioners to obtain consent from a minor’s parent or guardian prior to prescribing benzodiazepines, and it requires the pharmacist to include a cautionary statement explaining the risks associated with the long-term use of these drugs.

House Bill 331 details
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Benzodiazepine resources

Benzodiazepine and Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotic Medications
Benzodiazepine and Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotic Medications
Benzodiazepine and Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotic Medications Informed Consent for Parents/Guardians of Minors
Benzodiazepine and Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotic Medications Informed Consent for Parents/Guardians of Minors

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