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Walking the Benzodiazepine High Wire

The number of benzodiazepine (BZD) prescriptions has substantially increased over the past decade, leading to a parallel rise in rates of misuse and overdose. These increases have prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to update its “boxed warning” and have caused organizations to revisit prescribing guidelines. Concurrently, strong evidence from clinical trials supports the anxiolytic efficacy of BZDs. Although antidepressants and psychotherapy remain preferred treatments for chronic anxiety, BZDs remain helpful in treating acute or severe and persistent anxiety that does not respond to first-line therapy. Provider and patient education, coupled with prescribing surveillance, may be preferable to an overly stringent regulatory approach to guiding BZD use.

Authors: Kroenke, Kurt; Hirschtritt, Matthew E

Psychiatr Serv. 2023 Jan 01;74(1):73-75. Epub 2022-11-02.

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