The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reacted on the growing reports of benzodiazepine abuse on September 24, such as Valium and Xanax. The agency requires the drugs' labels for such medications to show "boxed warning" to caution their risky use.
Why Are Benzodiazepines Dangerous Drugs
Benzodiazepines are sedatives drugs usually prescribed to alleviate mental health issues such as seizures, panic disorders, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc.
However, although these medications are crucial for many Americans, many end up abusing and misusing them, according to the FDA reports. Those who use them for more than a week can get into addictions, develop physical dependency, and withdrawal reactions.
Additionally, continuous use for several weeks or months can cause acute withdrawal symptoms such as seizures. This condition can occur if patients reduce their doses quickly or discontinue their use unexpectedly. Therefore, healthcare providers should ensure they educate patients on the risks involved and how to help them tamper from the drugs gradually.
If possible, it's better for health cares to use other alternatives before they initially decide to prescribe benzodiazepines.
Statistics and Actions by the FDA
The FDA is currently evaluating and insisting on new labeling information to assist patients and healthcare providers in realizing both the treatment benefits and the potential risks of benzodiazepine.
Additionally, people abuse these drugs along with opioids, alcohol, and pain relievers, which can sometimes be life-threatening.
According to last year's report by the U.S CDC, benzodiazepine alone produced about 30 percent of all fatal opioid overdoses. These medications also caused almost 66 percent of overdoses related to the dangerous synthetic opioid fentanyl.
Doctors recommend short-term use of benzodiazepines to treat the required disorders. However, further FDA reports show that about 50 percent of benzodiazepine prescriptions were taken for more than two months.
Therefore, the FDA hopes that adding warning labels will allow healthcare providers to be extra vigilant or careful while prescribing the duration of using these drugs. The FDA also noted that benzodiazepines take only a short time before they result in addiction.
Additional Advice while Using Benzodiazepines
The FDA emphasized on slow withdrawal approach from sedative drugs, which require support from professional health care providers. Those who are currently using benzodiazepines and have concerns or how to withdraw safely should seek careful medical supervision when they need to taper from the dosages.
If you have been using these drugs for extended periods, never stop taking them abruptly before consulting your doctor.
Apart from adding the "Boxed Warnings," the FDA also stated it would revise the medication guides associated with the drugs to ensure patients are aware of their dangerous abuse.
Final Thoughts on Benzodiazepines
Weaning or withdrawing from these drugs requires a professional therapist to safely free you from their addiction or physical dependency. The best way option is to consider visiting a rehab center near you for professional advice and support. You will find expert help on how to withdraw from benzodiazepine without experiencing any life-threatening symptoms.