Minneapolis St. Paul Mental Health Blog

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Mental Health Minnesota

Benzos, a new problem for Primary Care Practitioners

Mental Health Update | Heightened awareness of the dangers of prescription opioids has prompted a movement to limit use of opioid therapies for patients with acute or chronic pain.

Primary care practitioners stand on the front lines of this care shift, and many are curtailing prescribing opioids in response.

But is the solution to the drug epidemic this straightforward?

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Mental Health | Benzodiazepine Prescribing By Primary Care Doctors has gone up

Benzo use is up | The drugs Clonazepam and Diazepam are both benzodiazepines;

they're better known by the brand names Klonopin and Valium. The drug class also includes Ativan, Librium and Halcion.

The percentage of outpatient medical visits that led to a benzodiazepine prescription doubled from 2003 to 2015, according to a study published Friday. And about half those prescriptions came from primary care physicians.

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Are Benzo's still safe? | Mental Health Update

Prescriptions for benzodiazepine and overdose deaths increased considerably from 1996 to 2013, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Marcus A. Bachhuber, MD, MSHP, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues examined data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and multiple-cause-of-death data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to describe trends in benzodiazepine prescriptions and overdose deaths among adults.

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