Research Output

Reducing diazepam prescribing for illicit drug users: a randomised control study.

  Illicit drug users undergoing mandatory reductions in prescribed diazepam were randomly allocated to one of two methods of delivering psychological support to help reduce their prescription: a) an enhanced intervention consisting of skills training and reinforcement, and b) a limited intervention where patients initially received skills training and thereafter only advice. Outcome measures at baseline and six-months consisted of daily diazepam dose; reported illicit drug use; Severity of Dependence Scale;
Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS); Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Fifty-three of 119 eligible patients agreed to be randomly allocated to the interventions. Those in the enhanced intervention reduced their daily dose of prescribed diazepam from a mean of 27.8mgs to 19.9mgs at six months (5.3% per month) compared with 29.8 mgs to 17.6mgs at six months (7.5%) among those in the limited intervention group. However, there was no statistically significant difference in the reduction
rate between the intervention groups. Approximately 75% of patients in each group suspended their reduction programme. The enhanced intervention group reported a statistically and clinically greater reduction in the mean HADS depression score (10.6 at baseline and 7.7 at follow-up), compared with a rise from 8.9 to 11.2 in the limited intervention group. In conclusion, it is possible to reduce prescribed diazepam among illicit drug users but not at the rate of 10% per month set by the study. The
difficulties of working with this population necessitate a flexible and possibly long-term approach to reducing prescribed benzodiazepines.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 January 2005

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Taylor & Francis

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology


Elliott, L., Glenday, J., Freeman, L., Ajeda, D., Johnston, B., Christie, M. & Ogston, S. (2005). Reducing diazepam prescribing for illicit drug users: a randomised control study. Drug and Alcohol Review. 24, 25-31. doi:10.1080/09595230500125138. ISSN 0959-5236


Benzodiazepine prescribing, Illicit drug users; Drug addicts

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