Category Archives: Deaths

Benzodiazepines may be underestimated in drug deaths

 UPDATE This post is from 2014 and the figures have not been updated. However, the latest figures show benzodiazepines were implicated in 59% of drug deaths in Scotland in 2017 compared with 27% of deaths in 2015. Benzodiazepines were found in similar proportions (76% & 71% of drug deaths in 2017 & 2015). This suggest the way benzodiazepines are judged to have contributed in individual deaths may have changed.
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Cause of Death ‘acute benzodiazepine withdrawal’

A Medical Emergency

The effects of benzodiazepines are insidious and unpredictable – suddenly stopping or withdrawing them too quickly can kill.

Acute benzodiazepine withdrawal is a medical emergency which can be life threatening.[1]

Sudden or too rapid withdrawal from benzodiazepines after regular use can cause seizures, psychosis, hallucinations and delirium, as well as many other severely incapacitating symptoms. These include memory loss, confusion, sensory disturbances, neurological and other physiological symptoms. The reinstatement of a benzodiazepine is essential as benzodiazepines must be withdrawn slowly – 3 months to a year or more. [2] read more

Cut Off

John* died 6 months after his doctor stopped his 10 years diazepam prescription without warning.

In the UK, a patient being prescribed benzodiazepines can have their prescription terminated by the prescriber (which can be life-threatening) and also be denied access to any care and support. This is because all responsibility for diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering the adverse effects of benzodiazepines (where they have been medically prescribed), lies with the GP. read more