Benzodiazepine withdrawal seizures and management

J Okla State Med Assoc. 2011 Feb;104(2):62-5.


Since the first report of benzodiazepine withdrawal seizure in 1961, many case reports have followed. Withdrawal seizures have occurred with short, medium, and long halflife benzodiazepine, if discontinued abruptly. Withdrawal seizures usually occur in patients who have been taking these medications for long periods of time and at high doses. Seizures have also been reported with less than 15 days of use and at therapeutic dosage. Almost all the withdrawal seizures reported were grand mal seizures. The severity of seizures range from a single episode to coma and death. Benzodiazepine dose tapering can be done faster in a hospital setting in high-dose abusers, but must be done more slowly in the outpatient setting in therapeutic dosage users.

MeSH terms

  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects*
  • Benzodiazepines / pharmacokinetics
  • Drug Substitution
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate / physiology
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / rehabilitation
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / rehabilitation
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*


  • Benzodiazepines