Doctors defend benzodiazepines

This brief editorial is a statement to introduce a new working group on benzodiazepines, the International Task Force on Benzodiazepines, which comprises independent scientists, clinical researchers, and clinical psychopharmacologists. No references are included here as it would be beyond the scope and goal of this introduction, but a full review on benzodiazepines will be the topic of a number of papers and presentations in the near future.

Benzodiazepines have been with us since the dawn of modern psychopharmacology. Chlordiazepoxide, the first benzodiazepine, was discovered by Leo Sternbach in the late 1950s and was approved for use in the USA in 1960. Sternbach, a genial chemist, also discovered several other benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam, diazepam, flurazepam, flunitrazepam, and nitrazepam.

Benzodiazepines quickly became popular and widely used due to their versatility, tolerability, and ease of use. As they have anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, and sedative properties, they have been used widely and remain the most widely prescribed psychotropic medications among all medical specialties. Psychiatrists have been using benzodiazepines for the treatment of anxiety disorders, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and as adjunct therapy for many other indications since their discovery. The anxiolytic properties of benzodiazepines are still unsurpassed by other psychotropic medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics that are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and anxiety symptoms in other mental disorders. Their adverse effect profile is relatively benign, with sedation and possible cognitive impairment being noted most frequently.

In spite of the unquestionable benefits of benzodiazepines and their popularity among physicians of various disciplines, we have witnessed a fairly negative campaign against benzodiazepines, which are often described as being readily abused (although their abuse liability is low and, if abuse occurs, it is in the context of other substance abuse). Interestingly, this campaign has intensified since the advent of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the mid-1990s. The SSRIs, originally approved for the treatment of depressive disorders, were quickly approved for various anxiety disorders despite the lack of sufficient evidence (i.e., comparison to the existing efficacious anxiolytic drugs, benzodiazepines), and they are now promoted as the first-line treatment for these disorders. In addition, the scientific literature has gradually and surreptitiously been flooded with more and more articles on “negative” properties of benzodiazepines. While many of these publications have either not been based on good science or been frankly biased, they easily achieved a common goal that negative propaganda frequently reaches: they aroused suspicion of benzodiazepines and suggested difficulties in using them, while overlooking their benefits. An “illusion of truth” effect then occurred as frequently repeated negative information and half-truths gradually became the truth as benzodiazepines were given a “bad” name and their reputation was damaged, especially in some scientific circles. Even prescribing these drugs has become a cumbersome procedure around the world.

The International Task Force on Benzodiazepines, as a group of investigators and clinical psychopharmacologists with long-standing clinical and scientific expertise, has been concerned about this excessively negative trend. We feel that benzodiazepines have not been given proper attention during the last 2–3 decades, they have not been adequately compared to other psychotropic medications in various indications, and their risks and side effects have been overemphasized. Some of us feel that benzodiazepines have been the subject of an unspoken “commercial war.”

This Task Force will be working on presenting various psychiatric and medical audiences with information about benzodiazepines which is evidence based, balanced, unbiased, and clinically relevant and useful. We believe that our colleagues deserve such information as it will encourage our common goal of treating our patients effectively, properly, and safely. We hope to preserve benzodiazepines as a valuable part of our armamentarium.

https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/489538

After 39 months of post-taper hell 68-year-old wants back on Xanax so he can live again

Better Off, Really?
« on: November 07, 2017, 05:58:24 pm »

[Buddie]

Well, I am 68. Off 13 years of benzos for 39 months now. To say this has been hell is being kind. I can’t think of a strong enough word. So, in the past years I seldom sleep. This has led to severe depression, extreme sadness, no life,no hope. I have aged externally and internally exponentially. Given my age I am believing now I would have been better off staying on. I know many heal, and I also know some do not. I am just venting here. I realize most comments will be stay strong and don’t give in and you will heal. I felt that way for many months and years. No more.

So, I am giving this through February. If after that I am not better, I am going back on and buying myself whatever good weeks or months I can grab. I can’t take years more of this. I see some have been 5 or more years struggling. Maybe if I were younger. I didn’t work 30 years and save money to now stay home and cry and hope. Which is worse really, no life or a short time of living again. Hmmmmm….

In opposition to the Massachusetts benzo bill

This from Mad in America member jeff@59:
“When are the politicians going to leave medical issues to the Doctors. You don’t see any Doctors trying to be politicians do you. Our government is already deep into our lives as it is, and it’s only going to get worse. Some people can’t use benzo’s because they become addicted, but you can’t write a blanket law based on the minority of people who abuse their medications and are drug addicts. I’m disabled due to a Neurosurgeon cutting a nerve in my spine, which left me in a wheelchair for 3 years. I developed a rare nerve disease called RSD/CRPS and it’s more painful than Cancer. I’ve had to fight Insurance companies and pharmacies, just to get the pain medicine that my Pain Management Doctor prescribed for me so that I can get out of bed and function somewhat. I do not get high on my pain meds, or benzos because people like me who suffer from chronic pain, take their meds to take the edge off of their pain, and to help them function or get through the day and have somewhat of a quality of life. Politicians like John Kasich of Ohio just wrote a new law that only allows Doctors and Dentists to prescribe only a 7 day supply of pain meds for their patients. Kasich is clueless because everyone is different, and he can’t write laws regarding writing pain medications for 7 days, based on all of the heroin addicts who being lumped together with people in pain with serious ailments. The politicians are the ones who are perpetuating this conspiracy linking heroin addicts to normal people who happen to be taking pain meds for some kind of injury or illness, and how to take care of patients who suffer from many painful diseases. How many Doctors to you see that are trying to be governors of a state. 0 Doctors, because they have a lot more common sense than John Kasich, who is clueless idiot. I’ve been taking 3 valium a day for 20 years for muscle spasms in my spine, because I’ve had 4 failed back surgeries, and I’ve never taken more pills than I’m prescribed, and I always have pills left over at the end of the month. The same goes for my pain meds. I’m glad that I go to a Pain Management Doctor who knows what he is doing, because he treats me with respect and dignity unlike career politicians like John Kasich who are trying to make a name for themselves and are totally clueless on what it’s like being in severe pain 24/7. I wish John Kasich could live one day in my shoes, so that he could feel the chronic severe nerve pain that I go through on a daily basis 24/7. Maybe then he wouldn’t write ridiculous laws about prescribing pain medications for a 7 day period. I think it’s about time that advocates like The U.S. Pain Foundation, People with Pain Matter, and Uniting Pain Warriors take a stand and educate these idiot and clueless politicians who are writing blanket laws that affect everyone who takes pain medications and benzodiazepines. The United States is becoming just like Germany was in the 1930’S, because our government is in every one of our lives, and spying on us with the NSA under Obama’s approval, which recently just came to light, and it is totally illegal. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m tired of big government taking our freedoms and liberties away from us a little bit at a time. One day we will wake up and soldiers from the U.N. will be knocking on our doors, and telling us to come with them. Some people who will read my post might think I’m crazy, and if you do just google how our government has bugged our computers, microwaves, ovens, I-phones, cable T.V.’s, and any way else the NSA can sneak into our lives and record every word that we are saying. It’s time that Americans take a stand about how our own government is treating it’s citizens, and because of 911 Homeland Security has a free pass and can use any type of surveillance equipment to track our every move, and who we associate with and what we say. Our government has the means to spy on any American that they want to, at any time they want to just because they can. WAKE UP AMERICA! Thank God for medical marijuana in Ohio!”

More from jeff@59:
“Thank you The _cat for backing me up. I totally agree with everything that you said. When will the people of the United States open their eyes, and see for themselves what politicians are doing to us. Free speech is being taking away from us by powerful lobbyists in Congress, and it seems like only protestors/rioters are the only people who have freedom of speech. Laws are being written every day that affect us without our knowledge, just like this archaic law regarding Benzodiazepines. Big Government is ruining our once great country, and The United States is becoming more and more like a communist country, because our freedoms and our liberties are being taken away from us little by little. Benzodiazepines are not dangerous drugs, and that’s why they are listed as class 4 drugs, which means that there is a low level of dependence when using theses drugs correctly. The only people that these drugs harm are the drug addicts, who Doctor shop and buy them on the streets for a cheap high. I hope that this bill stays in Massachusetts and does not continue on to the rest of our county. Why doesn’t big pharma have a law against Tylenol because it does way more damage to the liver than the actual drug that it’s mixed with. The reason why is because this makes too much sense and that is the reason why big pharma continues to make this awful dangerous drugs. Keep up the good fight The_Cat, and do not ever trust our government, because they are only in this so called ‘drug war’ for the money and they don’t give a s##t about the average citizen of the United States. Big Pharma and the Insurance company’s run the world, so beware of what they do and what they say because it’s all one big lie. Thank you again The_cat for being informed and not letting our government pull the wool over our eyes. Have a good day and God Bless you.”

Related:
American Judges Are Playing Doctor—and Doing Harm
https://psmag.com/news/american-judges-are-playing-doctorand-doing-harm

Politicians Should Stay Out Of Medicine
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/marvin-ross/health-minister-opioids_a_23047038/

CULT TALK

I’ve been informed that some of the kooks are filing their FDA complaints multiple times. I’ve taken the liberty to forward the links, of cult members bragging they’ve filed more than once, to the FDA. No need to thank me. 🙂

Benzos not to blame for singer’s death

Patients pushback on MA benzo bill (read comments section)