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.
- 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
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.