Helpful Insights forPatients and Caregivers
What are Benzodiazepines (BZDs)?
Benzodiazepines are medications that lower the activity of the nerves in the brain and cause you to be drowsy.1
Key Facts
  • Benzodiazepines should be used carefully under close direction of a prescriber.
  • Not using benzodiazepines for the right reason or using them for too long can lead to dependence, addiction, severe side effects, or even death.
  • Stopping benzodiazepines should be done by slowly lowering the dose over weeks to months with careful direction from a prescriber to avoid withdrawal symptoms.


  1. Griffin CE, Kaye AM, Bueno FR, Kaye AD. Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System–Mediated Effects. The Ochsner Journal. 2013;13(2):214-223.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prescription CNS Depressants. NIDA. Published March 6, 2018. Accessed September 4, 2018.
  3. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) in adults: management in primary, secondary and community care. 2011. (Clinical guideline 113.)
  4. 2023 American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria® Update Expert Panel. American Geriatrics Society 2023 updated AGS Beers Criteria® for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2023;71(7):2052-2081. doi:10.1111/jgs.18372
  5. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Types of Medications. NAMI. Accessed September 4, 2018.
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Benzodiazepines and Opioids. NIDA. Published March 15, 2018. Accessed September 4, 2018.
  7. U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Drug Safety and Availability. FDA. Publish September 20, 2017. Access October 29, 2018.
  8. SAMHSA. (2011). Benzodiazepine Abuse Treatment Admissions Have Tripled from 1998 to 2008.
  9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, June 1). Overdose death rates. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from
  10.  FDA Drug Safety Communication. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2022, from
  11. Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. Available from: