Benzodiazepines in Chronic Pain: Benefits, Risks, Abuse

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By Edward Covington, MD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Module Description: Chronic benzodiazepine use has not been shown to be useful, especially in those with chronic pain. They are hazardous due to overdose deaths, accidents, and cognitive impairment. Yet their use, particularly in chronic pain and in those with substance use disorders, continues to be widespread. They are easily weaned with the use of adjuvant drugs, and there are better alternatives for chronic anxiolysis. This module will review evidence of benefits and harms of BZs in chronic pain, describe current practice patterns, and suggest alternatives with more favorable benefit/harm ratios.

View the 1/21/16 follow-up webinar recording and presentation slides here.

Educational Objectives:

  • Describe the role of benzodiazepines in patients with chronic non-cancer pain
  • Describe the rationale and consequences of long-term benzodiazepine treatment
  • Select agents that facilitate weaning of benzodiazepines

Accreditation and Designation: American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1 (one) AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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