Substance Use - Benzodiazepines


Clinical Guidelines

Information and Resources for

Health Care Professionals

Information and Resources for

Older Adults and Care Partners

Information for Older Adults and Care Partners

Benzodiazepine Use Among Older Adults

  • BZRAs are the most prescribed psychiatric medication for older adults. Despite agreement that BZRAs should be avoided whenever possible, they continue to be frequently prescribed.
  • Health care providers should use non-pharmacological approaches first to treat anxiety and insomnia, not benzodiazepines.
  • BZRAs should never be prescribed for longer than four (4) weeks.
  • Health care providers should work towards gradual withdrawal and discontinuation where possible.
  • Health care providers should use non-pharmacological approaches for anxiety and insomnia and advocate for more resources.
  • Patients should be made aware of benzodiazepine's limited use and risks.

Substance Use Disorder

Older adults have an increased vulnerability to the effects of substance use and they experience more harm associated with them compared to younger adults. Learn more about cannabis, opioids and benzodiazepines use among older adults.

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Download our brochure to to find information about the impacts of benzodiazepine use including tips for discussing the topic with your health care provider.

Brochure: Benzodiazepine Use Among Older Adults 

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Discover online resources for Benzodiazepine Use Disorder

This list is designed to help primary health care & clinical care providers assess and discuss with persons aged 65 or older, the potential risks and benefits of taking benzodiazepines.