Benzodiazepine warning is highly significant

The recent statement by the Medical Council warning of the potential dangers of prescribing benzodiazepines and related drugs is a surprise. Normally the regulator uses updates to its ethics guide to advise doctors on best practice, so for it to issue a warning outside of this framework is highly significant.

Driven primarily by concerns about patient safety, the warning is aimed at curbing the overprescribing of certain categories of drugs; benzodiazepines and their cousins the z-drugs are a group of medicines that can be prescribed for short periods to help with sleeping problems, or to help with episodes of severe anxiety. They do not suit long-term use and can be dangerous when a patient develops a dependency on them. Pregabalin (Lyrica), the other medication singled out by the council, is licensed for the treatment of generalised anxiety, nerve pain and epilepsy. It too has become a drug of abuse.

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Source: irishtimes.com, September 2019. Accessed on October 3rd 2019