A GP guide to managing benzodiazepines

Knowing how to safely prescribe, manage and withdraw benzodiazepines helps to minimise dependence and misuse, and provide safe and supportive care

Need to know:

  • Prescription of benzodiazepines should be based on a comprehensive medical assessment, diagnosis, thoughtful consideration of the likely risks and benefits of benzodiazepine prescribing and as part of a broader management plan derived through shared decision-making and continual clinical monitoring.8
  • Benzodiazepines are, in most individuals, a short-term therapeutic option, and long-term use beyond four weeks should be uncommon and based on thoughtful consideration of the risks and benefits.8
  • Any long-term benzodiazepine treatment should be at the lowest effective dose, preferably given intermittently, and regular attempts at reduction should be scheduled.8
  • All patients, including those who use benzodiazepines problematically, have the right to respectful and safe care.8

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for treatment of insomnia, anxiety