The deadline is July 19th!

The American Society Of Addiction Medicine, ASAM, has drafted its recommendations for tapering of a benzodiazepine. You can read the draft and share your experiences.

Leave your comments here:

Some of the concerns with the draft are:

  • The post-withdrawal protracted experience is entirely overlooked. Both providers and patients require this information to grasp the full implications and engage in informed consent during the deprescribing process.
  • It is not sufficiently clear that physical dependence on prescribed benzodiazepines differs from addiction.
  • Shared decision-making necessitates full informed consent, which includes understanding the risks and benefits of continuing or discontinuing prescribed benzodiazepines. The guidance lacks mention of the most severe long-term risks associated with cessation.
  • Inpatient tapers are often conducted too quickly for most patients. The United States lacks facilities capable of facilitating a slow inpatient taper. Abrupt or overly rapid cessation exposes patients to possible prolonged symptoms lasting years.
  • The proposed taper range of 5-25% every two weeks is excessive for many patients. A more appropriate initial rate would be 5-10% every four weeks, adjustable based on the patient’s response, which is more in line with the Ashton Manual.
  • The tapering strategies described are insufficient and assume a level of preexisting knowledge that most providers do not have. Strategies such as managing tolerance, interdose withdrawal, kindling, and liquid micro-tapering should be included. Patients need prescribers to understand more than simply how to halve a pill.
  • The lack of education around adjunct medication is apparent in the draft.

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Please take a few moments to share your benzo experience so the ASAM creates appropriate guidelines based on the TRUTH about benzodiazepines. If they publish incorrect information, it will be difficult to persuade a doctor to go against what the ASAM has told them.
The deadline is July 19th.