(HealthDay News) — Benzodiazepine-induced neurological dysfunction is commonly reported by current and former benzodiazepine users, according to a study published online June 29 in PLOS ONE.
Alexis D. Ritvo, MD, MPH, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues surveyed current and former benzodiazepine users to examine beliefs about whether they attribute 23 symptoms and adverse life events to benzodiazepine use. The analysis included respondents still taking benzodiazepines (136), those tapering use (294) and those who fully discontinued use (763).
The researchers found that more than half of the respondents who experienced low energy, distractedness, memory loss, nervousness, anxiety and other symptoms reported that these symptoms lasted a year or longer and were often reported as de novo and distinct from the symptoms for which the benzodiazepines were originally prescribed. Some respondents reported that these symptoms persisted even following benzodiazepine discontinuation of a year or longer. Many respondents reported adverse life consequences as well.
“While acute benzodiazepine withdrawal is well described in the literature, there is far less known about the often distressing and enduring symptoms which impair life functioning in those who have discontinued or are in the process of discontinuing benzodiazepines,” the authors write.