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9-Apr-14 10:00 AM  CST  

Benzodiazepines: Are They Worth The Benefits and Risks? 

A recent study conducted by the British Medical Journal found another problem with benzodiazepines besides addiction. The additional risk? Early death. The study looked at individuals to test the hypothesis of people who take anxiolytic and hypnotic drugs and their increased risk for early death. The study used primary care prescription records and the final results of the study concluded that “these results add to evidence of an association
with mortality, but must be treated with caution.”

So the debate continues whether or not benzodiazepine medications are the best choice to treat emotional conditions such as anxiety.  Patients may become dependent on drugs like Xanax and Klonopin and may also suffer from withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing them. In a recent article published on, J.T. Junig, MD, PhD, discusses his thoughts and experiences in seeing patients that are over prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety. “The drugs are grossly over-used by patients, and over-prescribed by psychiatrists, usually for patient complaints of anxiety” reports Junig in his article.

Pharmacy technicians often know first hand of how many prescriptions of Xanax and Klonopin are filled each day at their workplace. It is often the pharmacy technician that refers customers to their pharmacist regarding questions about these medications. The technician cannot voice their opinion or give advice on the use of Xanax and Klonopin, but can arm themselves with correct knowledge of these types of medications and how they work on the body.  It is best to be informed about all types of medications so you can be a better pharmacy technician and help regard patient safety as a number one priority.

What are your thoughts on benzodiazepines and do you think they should be a first line treatment in the battle against anxiety?


1. Welch, Scott. “Effect Of anxiolytic And hypnotic drug prescriptions On Mortality Hazards: Retrospective Cohort Study.” British Medical Journal. Date of Access: 6 Apr 2014. 

2. Junig, J.T., M.D., PhD. “Is Xanax and Klonopin Killing You?” Web. Date of Access: 6 Apr 2014.

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Source: Jennifer S. O’Reilly

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