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.