The Challenges of Benzodiazepine Tapering and Discontinuation and an Underused Interdisciplinary Approach

  • Edward Jia Hua Fang University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine
  • Ho Seung Jason Kim University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine
  • Jacky Tang University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine
  • Charles Choi University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

Abstract

Benzodiazepines can carry significant health risks with long term use and are especially detrimental to vulnerable populations such as seniors and patients with substance use disorders. Unfortunately, it is extremely challenging to deprescribe and discontinue benzodiazepines despite their known public health risk. Due to limited commercially available dosage forms, benzodiazepine dose reductions recommended by current guidelines may not be possible or practical. This may precipitate benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, and seizures. We propose a collaborative approach with pharmacists, including using compounded suspensions of benzodiazepines, to supplement the existing benzodiazepine deprescribing regimens in clinical practice.

Author Biographies

Edward Jia Hua Fang, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

B.Sc. (Pharm), UBC

MD Candidate, Class of 2021

University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

Ho Seung Jason Kim, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

B.Sc. (Pharm), UBC

MD Candidate, Class of 2021

University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

Jacky Tang, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

B.Sc. (Pharm), UBC

MD Candidate, Class of 2021

University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

Charles Choi, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

B.Sc. (Pharm), UBC

MD Candidate, Class of 2021

University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine

Published
2018-09-22
Section
Commentaries