The rate of reduction, and note this term has been used in preference to rate of withdrawal, is something that has to be decided upon by the person who is dependent on the benzodiazepine medication. His/Her choice should always be discussed with the medical practitioner who is responsible for supply of the prescription and once agreed should be carried out in a controlled and supportive way.
The only restriction that should be laid down is that once the reduction program has been started, period/periods of “rest” may be taken whereby a halt in reduction or reduction at a lower rate takes place, but there should be no going in the reverse direction whereby there is an increase in the amount of benzodiazepine being taken
The time that it takes to totally withdraw is of no importance, whether it takes months or even years, since every step of reduction is a step in the right direction but one must be sure that if the decision to reduce has been made then the rate of reduction isn't that small that it doesn't really represent anything other than a token gesture whilst still maintaining the dependency problem.
Many earlier guide lines have suggested that each stage of reduction be carried out on a fortnightly basis but there is a growing consensus of opinion that such a short period between stages leads to a build up of withdrawal symptoms, that catch up with one at a later date, which is due to the time that it takes for the body to react to the withdrawal. This often leads to people looking elsewhere for a different source of supply of benzodiazepines, often illegally, or finding a substitute such as alcohol.
We recommend that there should be a period of four weeks between each stage of reduction and that the maximum reduction at any one stage should be no greater than 10% of the dosage being taken which should not exceed 2mg at the most.
NOTE* People who are on very high doses of benzodiazepines for example those on doses higher than 100mg of diazepam or equivalent doses of other benzodiazepines may have to reduce with larger amounts than 2mg of diazepam. Such people should remember not to reduce faster than 10% of their daily benzodiazepine dose every 4 weeks.
Forum Disclaimer SiteMap Home Contact us The Ashton Manual