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Beyond Prescriptions Monitoring Programs: The Importance of Having the Conversation about Benzodiazepine Use

1
School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
2
Reconnexion, Malvern East, Melbourne 3145, Australia
3
Centre for Drug Use, Addictive and Anti-social Behaviour Research (CEDAAR), Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(12), 2143; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8122143
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 29 November 2019 / Accepted: 2 December 2019 / Published: 4 December 2019
: Internationally there is an escalation of prescription-related overdose deaths, particularly related to benzodiazepine use. As a result, many countries have implemented prescription monitoring programs (PMPs) to increase the regulation of benzodiazepine medications. PMPs centralize prescription data for prescribers and pharmacists and generate alerts to high-doses, risky combinations, or multiple prescribers with the aim to reduce inappropriate prescribing and subsequently the potential of patient harm. However, it has become clear that prescribers have been provided with minimal guidance and insufficient training to effectively integrate PMP information into their decision making around prescribing these medications. Accordingly, this paper discusses how PMPs have given rise to a range of unintended consequences in those who have been prescribed benzodiazepines (BDZs). Given that a gradual taper is generally required to mitigate withdrawal from BDZs, there are concerns that alerts from PMPs have resulted in BDZs being ceased abruptly, resulting in a range of unintended harms to patients. It is argued that best practice guidelines based upon a patient-centered framework of decision-making, need to be developed and implemented, in order to curtail the unintended consequences of PMPs. This paper outlines some key considerations when starting the conversation with patients about their BDZ use.
Keywords: benzodiazepines (BDZs); long-term use; dependence; prescription monitoring programs (PMPs); deprescribing; overdose deaths benzodiazepines (BDZs); long-term use; dependence; prescription monitoring programs (PMPs); deprescribing; overdose deaths
MDPI and ACS Style

Oldenhof, E.; Anderson-Wurf, J.; Hall, K.; Staiger, P.K. Beyond Prescriptions Monitoring Programs: The Importance of Having the Conversation about Benzodiazepine Use. J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8, 2143.

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