Items in AFP with MESH term: Benzodiazepines
ABSTRACT: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the drug of choice for treatment of patients with panic disorder. Most patients have a favorable response to SSRI therapy; however, 30 percent will not be able to tolerate these drugs or will have an unfavorable or incomplete response. Strategies to improve management of such patients include optimizing SSRI dosing (starting at a low dose and slowly increasing the dose to reach the target dose) and ensuring an adequate trial before switching to a different drug. Benzodiazepines should be avoided but, when necessary, may be used for a short duration or may be used long-term in patients for whom other treatments have failed. Slower-onset, longer-acting benzodiazepines are preferred. All patients should be encouraged to try cognitive behavior therapy. Augmentation therapy should be considered in patients who do not have a complete response. Drugs to consider for use in augmentation therapy include benzodiazepines, buspirone, beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and valproate sodium.
ABSTRACT: In addition to pain, patients who are approaching the end of life commonly have other symptoms. Unless contraindicated, prophylaxis with a gastrointestinal motility stimulant laxative and a stool softener is appropriate in terminally ill patients who are being given opioids. Patients with low performance status are not candidates for surgical treatment of bowel obstruction. Cramping abdominal pain associated with mechanical bowel obstruction often can be managed with morphine (titrating the dosage for pain) and octreotide. Delirium is common at the end of life and is frequently caused by a combination of medications, dehydration, infections or hypoxia. Haloperidol is the pharmaceutical agent of choice for the management of delirium. Dyspnea, the subjective sensation of uncomfortable breathing, is often treated by titration of an opioid to relieve the symptom; a benzodiazepine is used when anxiety is a component of the breathlessness.
ABSTRACT: Increasingly, atypical antipsychotic drugs are prescribed for elderly patients with symptoms of psychosis and behavioral disturbances. These symptoms often occur in patients with Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, or Parkinson's disease. As the average age of Americans increases, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease will rise accordingly. Although nonpharmacologic treatments for behavioral disturbances should be tried first, medications often are needed to enable the patient to be adequately cared for. Current guidelines recommend using risperidone and olanzapine to treat psychosis in patients with Alzheimer's dementia. Quetiapine and clozapine are recommended for treatment of psychosis in patients with Parkinson's disease. Additional research is needed for a recently approved agent, ziprasidone. To minimize side effects, these medications should be started at low dosages that are increased incrementally. Drug interactions, especially those involving the cytochrome P450 system, must be considered. Clozapine's potentially lethal side effects limit its use in the primary care setting. Informed use of atypical antipsychotic drugs allows family physicians to greatly improve quality of life in elderly patients with dementia and behavior disturbances.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome - Article
ABSTRACT: The spectrum of alcohol withdrawal symptoms ranges from such minor symptoms as insomnia and tremulousness to severe complications such as withdrawal seizures and delirium tremens. Although the history and physical examination usually are sufficient to diagnose alcohol withdrawal syndrome, other conditions may present with similar symptoms. Most patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal can be treated safely and effectively as outpatients. Pharmacologic treatment involves the use of medications that are cross-tolerant with alcohol. Benzodiazepines, the agents of choice, may be administered on a fixed or symptom-triggered schedule. Carbamazepine is an appropriate alternative to a benzodiazepine in the outpatient treatment of patients with mild to moderate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Medications such as haloperidol, beta blockers, clonidine, and phenytoin may be used as adjuncts to a benzodiazepine in the treatment of complications of withdrawal. Treatment of alcohol withdrawal should be followed by treatment for alcohol dependence.
Treatment Options for Insomnia - Article
ABSTRACT: The frequency of sleep disruption and the degree to which insomnia significantly affects daytime function determine the need for evaluation and treatment. Physicians may initiate treatment of insomnia at an initial visit; for patients with a clear acute stressor such as grief, no further evaluation may be indicated. However, if insomnia is severe or long-lasting, a thorough evaluation to uncover coexisting medical, neurologic, or psychiatric illness is warranted. Treatment should begin with nonpharmacologic therapy, addressing sleep hygiene issues and exercise. There is good evidence supporting the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy. Exercise improves sleep as effectively as benzodiazepines in some studies and, given its other health benefits, is recommended for patients with insomnia. Hypnotics generally should be prescribed for short periods only, with the frequency and duration of use customized to each patient's circumstances. Routine use of over-the-counter drugs containing antihistamines should be discouraged. Alcohol has the potential for abuse and should not be used as a sleep aid. Opiates are valuable in pain-associated insomnia. Benzodiazepines are most useful for short-term treatment; however, long-term use may lead to adverse effects and withdrawal phenomena. The better safety profile of the newer-generation nonbenzodiazepines (i.e., zolpidem, zaleplon, eszopidone, and ramelteon) makes them better first-line choices for long-term treatment of chronic insomnia.
ABSTRACT: Social phobia is a highly prevalent yet often overlooked psychiatric disorder that can cause severe disability but fortunately has shown responsiveness to specific pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. Recognition of its essential clinical features and the use of brief, targeted screening questions can improve detection within family practice settings. Cognitive behavioral therapy, with or without specific antidepressant therapy, is the evidence-based treatment of choice for most patients. Adjunctive use of benzodiazepines can facilitate the treatment response of patients who need initial symptom relief. The use of beta blockers as needed has been found to be helpful in the treatment of circumscribed social and performance phobias. Treatment planning should consider the patient's preference, the severity of presenting symptoms, the degree of functional impairment, psychiatric and substance-related comorbidity, and long-term treatment goals.
Medications for Insomnia Treatment in Children - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
Benzodiazepines for Alcohol Withdrawal - Cochrane for Clinicians
Aripiprazole vs. Other Atypical Antipsychotics for Schizophrenia - Cochrane for Clinicians
Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries