Benzodiazepine Use Disorder Among Older Adults
Benzodiazepine receptor agonists (BZRAs) are sedative-hypnotic drugs that are often used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, sleeping problems (insomnia), seizures and alcohol withdrawal. These medications can lead to dependency and cause side effects including fatigue, impaired balance and falls, memory problems, and problems holding urine. Their use has been associated with a higher risk of motor vehicle collisions.
Despite agreement that BZRAs should be avoided whenever possible in older adults, these medications continue to be frequently prescribed. Recent Canadian data suggest high rates of use persist among older adults, especially females, with 18.7% of females reporting past-year use (Statistics Canada, 2016).
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Tools for Older Adults and Care Partners
Tools and Resources for Health Care Professionals
The goal of CCSMH’s Canadian Guidelines on BZRA Use Disorder Among Older Adults is to provide guidance for clinicians on preventing the development of BZRA Use Disorder or assessing and treating older individuals who have developed such a 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.
CCSMH Webinar: Canadian Guidelines on Benzodiazepine Receptor Agonist Use Disorder Among Older Adults
This presentation summarizes CCSMH’s Clinical Guidelines on Benzodiazepine Receptor Agonist Use Disorder (BUD) Among Older Adults. The session provides guidance for clinicians on preventing the development of a BUD, optimally assessing and treating older individuals who have developed such a disorder.