chapter  6
10 Pages

Use of Anticonvulsants in Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Relationship to Alcohol Withdrawal Some studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of anticonvulsants (both carbamazepine and sodium valproate) in treating acute alcohol withdrawal (Bjorkquist et al., 1976; Lambie et al., 1980; Malcolm et al., 1989; Stuppaeck et al., 1990, 1992; Rosenthal, Perkel, Singh, Onand, & Miner, 1998). This has led to the hypothesis that anticonvulsants could be useful in the treatment of BZP withdrawal. The most common method of BZP withdrawal was, and probably still is, a slow taper of the original agent over weeks to months. The need for better treatment for acute BZP withdrawal became more pressing with the appearance of widely used, high-potency, short half-life BZPs such as alprazolam and triazolam (Fyer et al., 1987; Klein, Uhde, & Post, 1986; Zipursky et al., 1985). Also, addiction treatment units could not wait for weeks or months of slow taper and were searching for a more rapid method of BZP withdrawal for high-dose BZP dependence in polysubstance abusers (Ries et al., 1991; Smith & Landry, 1990).