FAQ: Why Are Long Acting Benzodiazepines Not Used In The Elderly.?

Introduction. In older people, use of long-acting benzodiazepines are associated with multiple risks, including falls, drowsiness and ataxia, cognitive decline, impaired psychomotor function, and risk of dependence (Voyer et al., Reference Voyer, Preville, Cohen, Berbiche and Beland2010).

Why are benzodiazepines not a good choice for an elderly patient?

But while effective, they have serious risks—especially when used over long periods. Long-term use can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms when discontinued. Benzodiazepines can impair cognition, mobility, and driving skills in older people, as well as increase the risk of falls.

What benzodiazepines should elderly avoid?

Long half-life benzodiazepines usually are not preferred for older patients because of cumulative toxicity. Among the short half-life drugs, high-potency compounds (e.g., lorazepam, alprazolam) may be more toxic than low-potency compounds (e.g., oxazepam).

Why are benzodiazepines not used long-term?

While benzodiazepines are highly effective in the short term, adverse effects associated with long-term use, including impaired cognitive abilities, memory problems, mood swings, and overdoses when combined with other drugs, may make the risk-benefit ratio unfavourable.

Which benzodiazepine is preferred for elderly patients?

On the basis of their shorter half-lives and lack of (or rapid disappearance of) active metabolites produced by their mode of metabolism, oxazepam and lorazepam (and perhaps alprazolam) are the benzodiazepines of choice for elderly patients.

Is Klonopin bad for elderly?

However, elderly patients are more likely to have confusion and severe drowsiness, or age-related heart, liver, or kidney problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving clonazepam.

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What is the most serious risk associated with the use of benzodiazepine?

In addition to abuse and dependence, other major risks associated with benzodiazepine use include the following: Cognitive impairment. Benzodiazepines cause acute adverse effects: drowsiness, increased reaction time, ataxia, motor incoordination, and anterograde amnesia.

Is Xanax Safe for elderly?

However, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted effects (eg, severe drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, clumsiness, or unsteadiness) and kidney, liver, or lung problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving this medicine.

Is Ativan safe for seniors?

In some populations, such as the children and the elderly, Ativan can cause a “paradoxical effect.” Instead of having a calming effect, it may cause agitation and confusion. Elderly patients taking Ativan are also at a higher risk of falls.

What is the best anti anxiety medication for elderly?

Buspirone is an anti-anxiety drug that has been shown to be effective for older adults. Benzodiazepines, another anti-anxiety drug, are effective but should be prescribed carefully to older adults because of risk of memory impairment, unsteadiness, and falls.

Are benzodiazepines meant for long-term use?

Generally speaking, when used as directed under supervision from a doctor, benzodiazepines are relatively safe for short periods of time. They are not, however, meant to be taken for longer than a few weeks to a few months at most.

What is a good substitute for benzodiazepines?

Some non-addictive alternatives to benzodiazepines for anxiety available by prescription include:

  • SSRIs (antidepressants)
  • SNRIs (antidepressants)
  • Beta-Blockers (blood pressure medications)
  • Buspirone (anti-anxiety)
  • Hydroxyzine (brand name Vistaril, a prescription antihistamine).
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Is long-term benzodiazepine use effective?

Due to their quick onset of action, efficacy and tolerability, benzodiazepines are widely prescribed by clinicians and utilized by patients. Although benzodiazepines have been beneficial and effective for the short-term management of anxiety, they have not been shown to be effective in producing long- term improvement.

Is Diazepam Safe for elderly?

Here are some common medications from the Beers list that senior citizens should avoid: Valium (diazepam). This sedative, often used to treat insomnia and anxiety, is involved in many inappropriate prescriptions for the elderly.

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