Intended for healthcare professionals


Reducing the use of benzodiazepines in general practice

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 02 July 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:3
  1. J W Tiller

    Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used psychotropic drugs.1,2 When introduced they were embraced with enthusiasm by the medical profession and public alike, although since then a backlash has developed against them, which has culminated in legal actions against their manufacturers. The use of benzodiazepines has fallen steadily since the 1970s.3 Adverse effects have been highlighted, including the chance of a discontinuation syndrome after patients stop taking the drugs.4

    Doctors have been exhorted not to prescribe these drugs and to try to stop their long term use.5 The exhortations have worked: a community survey in this week's journal does not confirm earlier popular notions of long term use of benzodiazepines (p 27).6 Benzodiazepines are now often regarded as suitable only for short term use, if they have a use at all. (This ignores their appropriate longer term use …

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