STEPS TO REDUCE BZD OVERPRESCRIBING

 

New Patients (patients not yet prescribed a BZD)

  • Require informed consent to every patient of the risks and dangers of benzodiazepine/Z-drug use past the recommended 2-4 weeks.
  • Adhere to the existing guidelines: short-term prescriptions (2-4 weeks only) in minimal dosage
  • Avoid prescribing the potent benzodiazepines (alprazolam, lorazepam, clonazepam)
  • Consider rescheduling benzodiazepines
  • Develop and/or utilize existing non-drug treatments for anxiety and insomnia with suitable training and provision of staff
  • Educate doctors, other prescribers, and healthcare workers about the potential dangers of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs

 

Long-Term Patients (already dependent on a BZD)

  • Educate the medical community about slow, proper tapering protocols, where the dependent patient (not the prescriber) is in control of the rate/speed, to discontinue the drugs if the patient desires. Always inform the patient of risks of remaining dependent on a benzodiazepine.
  • Financial aid for patient support groups and dedicated withdrawal clinics.

 

General Measures

  • Black box or other heightened warnings on the drugs themselves or within the drug literature/patient handout that accompanies the drug prescription.
  • Research into the long-term effects of benzodiazepines.
  • Greater transparency about the true results of drug company sponsored trials.
  • Continued and persistent pressure (through activism, awareness, lobbying, grassroots efforts) on government health authorities and the public.
  • in some cases, filing a complaint about negligent medical providers to your State Medical Board (or other prescriber regulatory agencies, depending on where you live) may be in order, as may the pursuit of litigation and exposing any settlements publicly. This includes cases where inappropriate or abrupt withdrawal has resulted in a severe withdrawal syndrome. Avoiding formal complaints and litigation can be a significant motivator for providers to get quickly educated.

 

Source: https://www.psychmedaware.org/HistoryBenzodiazepines.html