Benzodiazepine Dependence - History

History

Previously, physical dependence on benzodiazepines was largely thought to occur only in people on high-therapeutic-dose ranges and low- or normal-dose dependence was not suspected until the 1970s; and it was not until the early 1980s that it was confirmed. Low-dose dependence has now been clearly demonstrated in both animal studies and human studies, and is a recognized clinical disadvantage of benzodiazepines. Severe withdrawal syndromes can occur from these low doses of benzodiazepines even after gradual dose reduction. An estimated 30–45% of chronic low-dose benzodiazepine users are dependent and it has been recommended that benzodiazepines even at low dosage be prescribed for a maximum of 7–14 days to avoid dependence. As a result strict regulations for the prescription of benzodiazepines due to this risk of low-dose dependence.

Some controversy remains, however, in the medical literature as to the exact nature of low-dose dependence and the difficulty in getting patients to discontinue their benzodiazepines, with some papers attributing the problem to predominantly drug-seeking behavior and drug craving, whereas other papers having found the opposite, attributing the problem to a problem of physical dependence with drug-seeking and craving not being typical of low-dose benzodiazepine users.

Read more about this topic:  Benzodiazepine Dependence

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