Long-term use of benzodiazepines can result in a number of serious problems for the patient.

Issues involved:

(1) definition of "long term": vary from > 1 month to > 1 year with any period in between

(2) frequency of dosing: once in a while (periodic) to continuous


Complications of continuous long-term use:

(1) addiction/dependence

(2) cognitive impairment, antegrade amnesia and drowsiness

(3) hangover effect

(4) respiratory depression

(5) increased reaction time, ataxia and motor incoordination


Dependence can appear in some patients after 1 month of continuous therapy.


Over time tolerance can develop, with need for an increasing dose to achieve the intended clinical effect.


Consequence of complications:

(1) falls with fracture

(2) automobile accidents

(3) withdrawal which can last for weeks or months

(4) overdose if mixed with alcohol or other drugs

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