Detoxification from benzodiazepines: schedules and strategies

J Subst Abuse Treat. 1991;8(1-2):9-17. doi: 10.1016/0740-5472(91)90022-3.


Management of benzodiazepine (BZD) tolerance is divided into low- and high-dose withdrawal. Low-dose withdrawal includes patients who have received manufacturer-recommended doses of BZD on a daily basis for longer than 1 month. Gradual tapering of the BZD over 4 weeks on an outpatient basis is suggested. High-dose withdrawal includes patients who have been ingesting doses of BZD greater than the equivalent of diazepam 40 mg/d for longer than 8 months. It is recommended that the patients be tolerance tested with diazepam and, if tolerant, tapered off medication as inpatients at a rate of 10% per day. Triazolobenzodiazepines may be exceptions to these recommendations. Alprazolam should be titrated at a rate of 0.5 mg three times a day regardless of whether the patient is being tapered for low- or high-dose withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Anxiety Agents* / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents* / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Humans
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines