Benzodiazepines and Z-Drugs

The Eston Surgery Benzodiazepine and Z-Drug Policy Adoption

The Eston surgery is working to help people reduce the number of unnecessary drugs they may be taking and to improve their quality of life.

We are offering a withdrawal service for those who are currently taking long term prescription tranquillisers, such as Diazepam, Temazepam, Zopiclone, Zolpidem and Cholordiazepoxide - known as Benzodiazepines (Benzos) and Z-drugs.

Known as Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs, the benefits for the majority of patients are only in the short term, and the drugs are actually only licensed for 2 weeks of use. The benefits rapidly reduce and side effects and dependency can affect the quality of patients’ lives.

These drugs are often taken without any realisation of the potential harm they can do and were prescribed in good faith, at a time when little else was available.

Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs are cheap, so this is not a cost cutting exercise. The Eston surgery is helping people stop taking them to gain a better quality of life and identify and treat the real underlying problems.

We will be continiously reviewing and reducing Benzodiazepine prescribing in our patients . It will involve a prescribing strategy and education programme for patients; we will look at recommended dose reductions from each of the drugs and also invites patients to discuss withdrawal here at the surgery.

Patients who are unable or unwilling to reduce drug dosage via a managed withdrawal scheme (or who use more than one drug of abuse, or who are dependent on alcohol) will be referred to the substance misuse service.

It is never too late to come off this medication and there are significant health benefits to reducing the amount taken

Patients will be reviewed to ensure that they are appropriate for reduction. Patients with certain conditions, who are palliative or under advice from secondary care will not be involved. Patients will be advised if they need to continue taking the drug, and if not provided with the support to reduce and eventually stop taking them.

We recognise that people have been using these drugs for some time and it may not always be easy, however we will provide tailored individual support through a controlled and managed withdrawal.