Some Problems with Benzodiazepines.
Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin 1985; 23: 21-23.

" Short-term administration of benzodiazepines impairs psychomotor function and can produce anterograde amnesia. Chronic benzodiazepine users takers have lower scores on some psychological tests than controls matched for age and sex. Such test performances were more impaired than simpler tests of psychomotor function. Whether these findings indicate that
long-term use impairs intelligence is unknown, as pre-benzodiazepine tests were not available; there may well be other reasons for a difference between benzodiazepine users and non users. "
[p. 22]

[Key words; cognitive impairment, amnesia, memory impairment, long-term effects]

Edwards JG.
Adverse Effects of Antianxiety Drugs.
Drugs 1981; 22: 495-514.

" The behaviour of patients in whom one suspects benzodiazepine dependence is also noteworthy. In practice we see patients who claim that benzodiazepines have cured their anxiety, while at the same time they continue to demand drugs. Many refuse a trial period without medication. Patients who have been successfully treated with antidepressants or antipsychotic drugs, although experiencing relief from equally distressing symptoms (including anxiety secondary to the underlying disorder), generally seem not so reluctant to have their treatment stopped. The
situation with benzodiazepines is reminiscent of that encountered with other drugs of dependence.

Physicians who carried out ratings on the severity of addiction, blind to the type of drug, changed their opinions when it was revealed that the drug in question was diazepam (Maletzky and Klotter, 1976). This showed a reluctance to accept that benzodiazepines are drugs of addiction.
It is perhaps humiliating for us to realise that we have learnt little from history. Is it possible that having previously contributed to barbiturate and other addiction we are now reluctant to accept that we may have also contributed to benzodiazepine addiction ?

[Key words; addiction, dependence]

Ericsson HR, Holmgren P, Jakobsson SW, Lafolie P, De Rees B.
[ Benzodiazepine Findings in an Autopsy Series A Study Showing Interacting Factors at Death.]
Läkartidningen 1993; 90: 3954-3957.

" The paper consists in a report of a retrospective study (of data from 1987) on the prevalence of benzodiazepines in blood at the time of death. Of 2,007 autopsies, forensic chemical analyses were performed in 1,587 cases, in 159 of which benzodiazepines were found. Of these 159
deaths, 22 were considered to be due to natural causes, and in another 22 cases the cause of death was still unclear after examination; the remaining 115 deaths were due to accidents (N16), suicide (N60), drug addiction (N29) or alcoholism (N10). Multiple benzodiazepine intake was
found in 37 cases, a subgroup including all 29 cases of death due to drug addiction. In a comparison of suicides and natural deaths, the concentrations both of flunitrazepam and nitrazepam were significantly higher among the suicides (---). In four cases, the sole cause of
death was benzodiazepine intake. It is concluded that some benzodiazepines, particularly flunitrazepam, may be more toxic than previously supposed. " [p. 3975\

[Key words; Rohypnol, flunitrazepam, poisoning, suicide]

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