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Adv Alcohol Subst Abuse. 1990;9(1-2):103-28.

Addiction potential of benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine anxiolytics.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Medical School, Houston.


This paper reviews the addiction potential of all benzodiazepines currently available in the U.S.A. as well as several non-benzodiazepine anxiolytic drugs. Addiction potential was assessed by separately considering the potential for these drugs to produce three different phenomena of addiction; namely, physical dependence, psychological dependence and deleterious consequences. This review focuses on human studies conducted with research volunteers outside the therapeutic context and also on clinical studies conducted with patients receiving treatment in the therapeutic context. It is concluded that benzodiazepines have a reduced addiction potential in comparison to the predecessor barbiturates. Conclusions regarding the relative addiction potential of several non-benzodiazepine anxiolytics are difficult due to a paucity of data; however limited evidence suggests a reduced addiction potential for several of these compounds. Within the benzodiazepine class, qualitative differences in addiction potential between individual drugs are not well established.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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