Antidepressants plus benzos: Is it worth the risk?

The risk of addiction should be carefully considered for patients prescribed benzodiazepine at the start of antidepressant therapy, US researchers say.

A study of almost 800,000 adults prescribed antidepressants suggests that about 11% are also given benzodiazepines to prevent initial anxiety and jitteriness and to improve treatment continuation.

Alprazolam is the most commonly prescribed benzo with antidepressants (43.9%), followed by lorazepam (26.3%) and clonazepam (21.8%).

Interestingly, the study has also found that psychiatrists are more likely to add a benzo to an antidepressant than GPs or other prescribers.

Yet the investigators found no clinically meaningful difference in antidepressant treatment length between simultaneous users and those prescribed only antidepressants.

So the practice doesn’t appear to improve continuation rates of antidepressant therapy, but it does