In July 2015, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) released a Rapid Response report summary, with a critical appraisal, on discontinuation strategies for patients with long-term benzodiazepines (BDZ) use. The CADTH document is a review of the literature. It includes studies whose intervention is BDZ discontinuation. Also, clinical guidelines, systematic reviews and meta-analyses are included. What emerges from the CADTH guidelines is that the best strategy remains gradual tapering of BDZ with little evidence for the use of adjunctive medications. The results show that simple interventions such as discontinuation letters from clinicians, self-help information and support in general, added to gradual tapering may be associated with a two- to three-fold higher chance of successful withdrawal, compared with treatment as usual. We suggest possible implications for day-to-day clinical practice.
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