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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2003 Jun 5;70(3):309-14.

Long-term outcome after benzodiazepine withdrawal treatment in subjects with complicated dependence.

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A-clinic Foundation, Helsinki, Finland.



The study aimed to monitor subjects with benzodiazepine (BZ) dependence after withdrawal treatment in order to evaluate long-term outcome and predictors of remaining BZ-free. Subjects with high-dose dependence or co-occurring alcohol problems were not excluded.


Seventy-six participants in an earlier, randomized, controlled trial of outpatient BZ discontinuation were interviewed, and documents from their treatment settings obtained, along with urine and serum samples for BZ use. Long-term outcomes for a cognitive-behavioral treatment group and a treatment-as-usual group were measured.


BZ discontinuation treatment outcomes were maintained in both treatment groups. No between-group differences were found. At the end of the study 25% of the subjects were BZ-free, and the median dose decrease from pre-treatment levels was 16.1 mg in diazepam equivalents. Subjects with pre-treatment doses exceeding 40 mg were able to maintain their doses at therapeutic levels through the follow-up. Pre-treatment low BZ dose, no previous withdrawal attempts, and high life satisfaction predicted success in staying BZ-free.


In subjects with complicated BZ dependence, the benefits of BZ discontinuation treatment may persist, but more studies are needed.

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