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Review
. 2017 Feb;50(2):115-122.
doi: 10.1007/s00391-016-1171-5. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

[Discontinuation of Benzodiazepines in Old Age : When and if So, How?]

[Article in German]
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Review

[Discontinuation of Benzodiazepines in Old Age : When and if So, How?]

[Article in German]
Dirk K Wolter. Z Gerontol Geriatr. .

Abstract

Although viewed critically in geriatrics, benzodiazepine use is still common among old people. Before reducing the dosage the following questions must be considered: 1. Are there indications for benzodiazepine treatment and will discontinuation cause relevant rebound symptoms of the initial disorder treated? 2. To what extent do the patient and other key persons consider discontinuation to be reasonable and will they support discontinuation? 3. Is the target complete withdrawal, a dose reduction or shift to another benzodiazepine drug which is more suitable in old age for pharmacokinetic reasons? This article provides assistance in answering these questions and some guidelines for the practical management of discontinuation. It is mandatory 1) to periodically address the problem of long-term benzodiazepine use when counseling the patient and key persons and 2) to be aware that several intermediate steps exist between continuation and complete discontinuation, which may be considered successful treatment.

Keywords: Anxiety disorders; Discontinuation program; Intoxication; Withdrawal; Z-drugs.

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