Module 2: Basic Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs and Substances

Lesson 1

Benzodiazepines – General approaches to management

As with symptom management using opioids, treatment with benzodiazepines must be initiated as a trial and carefully monitored for potential tolerance or addiction (NOUGG, 2017). Some strategies to consider include:

  • Establish a clear indication for use of benzodiazepines.
  • Explore non-benzodiazepine alternatives (e.g. , psychotherapy, SSRIs or SNRIs).
  • Evaluate baseline cognitive status, substance use history, and presence of chronic conditions that can affect gait and balance.
  • Regularly review the benzodiazepine regimen.
  • Educate patients on goals of treatment and potential side effects.
  • Maintain close contact with the patient during dose titration or adjustments.
  • Use the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible.