Effectiveness of current treatment approaches for benzodiazepine discontinuation: a meta-analysis

Jannette M ParrRoss McD Young


To assess the effectiveness of current treatment approaches to assist benzodiazepine discontinuation. A systematic review of approaches to benzodiazepine discontinuation in general practice and out-patient settings was undertaken. Routine care was compared with three treatment approaches: brief interventions, gradual dose reduction (GDR) and psychological interventions. GDR was compared with GDR plus psychological interventions or substitutive pharmacotherapies. Inclusion criteria were met by 24 studies, and a further eight were identified by future search. GDR [odds ratio (OR) = 5.96, confidence interval (CI) = 2.08-17.11] and brief interventions (OR = 4.37, CI = 2.28-8.40) provided superior cessation rates at post-treatment to routine care. Psychological treatment plus GDR were superior to both routine care (OR = 3.38, CI = 1.86-6.12) and GDR alone (OR = 1.82, CI = 1.25-2.67). However, substitutive pharmacotherapies did not add to the impact of GDR (OR = 1.30, CI = 0.97-1.73), and abrupt substitution of benzodiazepines by other pharmacotherapy was less effective than GDR alone (OR = 0.30, CI = 0.14-0.64). Few studies on any technique had significantly greater benzodiazepine discontinuation than controls at follow-up. Providin...Continue Reading


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