Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Benzodiazepine misuse

Phenazepam is currently being misused in the UK

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 05 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4207
  1. Peter D Maskell, lecturer in forensic toxicology1,
  2. Giorgia De Paoli, lecturer in forensic toxicology1,
  3. L Nitin Seetohul, lecturer in forensic toxicology1,
  4. Derrick J Pounder, professor of forensic medicine1
  1. 1Centre for Forensic and Legal Medicine, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, UK
  1. p.d.maskell{at}

Phenazepam is a benzodiazepine not currently controlled in the United Kingdom, mainland Europe, or the United States. Developed in the 1970s for the treatment of epilepsy, alcohol withdrawal syndrome, insomnia, and anxiety,1 2 it is currently prescribed only in the former Soviet Bloc.

However, recent reports from Sweden, Finland, and the …

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