As more of us head back indoors to avoid the cooler temperatures, cold, flu, and Covid infections begin to rise. We can do our best to stay healthy but may catch a viral infection despite our best efforts. Viral and bacterial infections can increase our benzo withdrawal/BIND symptoms or introduce new ones. Thankfully, this increase, commonly referred to as a wave in the benzo community, usually subsides as we get over the infection. Rest, hydration, and proper nutrition can help us weather the illness. Acceptance, patience, distraction, and a little TLC and compassion from a friend or family member can help us cope with the increased/new benzo symptoms.

Over-the-counter medications for colds and flu should be used with caution, as some can increase symptoms. If you feel you need pain medication, anecdotal evidence points to Tylenol being better tolerated than Aleve.

The FDA-approved treatment for Covid, Paxlovid, has been shown to reduce the severity of Covid and shorten the duration of infection. However, if you are taking Clonazepam (Klonopin), Diazepam (Valium), Flurazepam, or Midazolam, a research paper published June 6, 2022, by the University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy, indicates that Paxlovid should not be administered. If you take Alprazolam (Xanax), Paxlovid should be used cautiously.

The pandemic certainly added more stress to those navigating benzo withdrawal/BIND. With the many different ideas swirling around, we all have to decide what we are comfortable with. Do we wear a mask? Get vaccinated? Take drugs that are not FDA-approved for treatment? No matter where you stand on those issues, I hope you will read the findings about Paxlovd. If your doctor recommends taking Paxlovid, tell them you are taking a benzodiazepine. Remember, many doctors are still uneducated about the dangers of benzodiazepines, and they may not be aware of the published reports about Paxlovid and its interactions with benzodiazepines.

Remember, the four cornerstones of well-being can help us to stay healthier this season: eat right (WFPB), move enough, stress less, and love well.

I wish you all a very healthy and healing winter!
Dr. Jenn

Here is the link to the report about Paxlovid.