The Use of Carbamazepine to Treat Benzodiazepine Withdrawal in a Geriatric Population
Rapid withdrawal of short to intermediate half-life benzodiazepines may be hazardous, particularly in the elderly. The use of carbamazepine to facilitate withdrawal has been reported in younger patients. We describe four elderly patients (average age, 72.5 years) who had each experienced at least one unsuccessful attempt at alprazolam withdrawal and who were subsequently successfully withdrawn via the use of carbamazepine over a period ranging from 2 to 6 days. These geriatric patients experienced no major withdrawal symptoms, but mild symptoms were common. There was no correlation between dose or duration of alprazolam use and extent of withdrawal symptoms. We recommend use of this treatment regimen in a hospital setting only, where close monitoring can occur.
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