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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1994 Nov;9(8):510-4.

The benzodiazepines as adjuvant analgesics.

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University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.


There has been long-standing debate regarding whether benzodiazepines possess analgesic properties that are independent of their effects on mood and alertness. A careful review of the literature reveals insufficient evidence to support the contention that the benzodiazepines have meaningful analgesic properties in most clinical circumstances. Treatment with the benzodiazepines may reduce complaints of pain, but this seems to be an indirect effect related to their psychotropic properties, such as alleviation of anxiety and, in selected cases, depression. In the absence of definitive data, clinical experience suggests a potential role for treatment with benzodiazepines for acute muscle spasm, concomitant chronic pain and anxiety, and lancinating neropathic pain, in which case clonazepam and alprazolam may be the agents of choice. They should probably not be considered as first-line choices even for the above indications, since potential benefits must be considered in the context of potential for the development of cognitive impairment, physical and psychological dependence, worsening depression, overdose, and other side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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