Ryan Caldeiro, MD, shares insights on prescribing benzodiazepine

Ryan Caldeiro, MD

Ryan Caldeiro, MD, assistant medical director for addiction medicine at Washington Permanente Medical Group, commented on how doctors and patients struggle with the use of benzodiazepine – a class of psychoactive drugs that is often prescribed for anxiety – in a recent WebMD article.

The story, “Doctor, Patients Struggle with Benzodiazepine Use,” commends Kaiser Permanente’s guidelines for prescribing these types of drugs in Washington state in the backdrop of a national opioid epidemic.

For benzodiazepines, WPMG recommends that doctors give “the lowest dose for the shortest time” with a 2-week limit. In addition, Permanente physicians are told not to prescribe benzodiazepines to patients who are currently taking opioids and to discuss the risks of dependency before writing a prescription. Kaiser Permanente Washington is the first region where Kaiser Permanente has applied these guidelines.

“The main thing we did was we incorporated a better description of what the risks are long-term,” says Dr. Caldeiro. “We improved how we support shared decision-making conversations for our providers.”

This year, the American Medical Association will consider a resolution on the dangers of benzodiazepines and opioids at its annual conference.

To learn more, read the full article on the WebMD website.