Pregabalin in the discontinuation of long-term benzodiazepines’ use†

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Abstract

Objective

Tolerance, dependence, and adverse effects on cognitive functions are well-known consequences of long-term use of benzodiazepines (BDZ), especially at high doses, raising thorny therapeutic problems in their discontinuation. One promising pharmacological agent in BDZ discontinuation might be the newer anti-epileptic pregabalin, already successfully tested in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Methods

We report on a sample of 15 patients with long-term, mostly high-dose dependence from BDZ, treated with pregabalin in an open-label study at doses 225-900 mg.

Results

All patients discontinued successfully BDZ in 3-14 weeks, moreover with a significant reduction of their previous anxiety levels under BDZ. In addition, patients showed also a significant amelioration in their cognitive functioning. Pregabalin' side-effects were mild and transient, lasting only during the first 2 weeks of treatment.

Conclusion

Although preliminary, our findings suggest that pregabalin may be one new promising agent in the treatment of BDZ dependence.

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