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Ann Clin Biochem. 1997 Jan;34 ( Pt 1):68-73.

Benzodiazepine misuse by drug addicts.

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Department of Chemical Pathology and Immunology, Old Medical School, University of Leeds, UK.


Using a high-performance liquid chromatography method, we measured seven commonly prescribed benzodiazepines (chlordiazepoxide, nitrazepam, nordiazepam, oxazepam, lorazepam, temazepam and diazepam) in 100 urine samples obtained from patients attending the Leeds Addiction Unit. All of the urines selected for investigation were positive for benzodiazepines using an EMIT (Enzyme Immunoassay) screen. Forty-four of the urines contained a range of benzodiazepines, none of which had been prescribed. Nitrazepam was detected most frequently (61 urine samples), but had not been prescribed to any of the patients in this study. Chlordiazepoxide was detected in 49 urine samples, although it had been prescribed to only five patients. Temazepam was detected in 28 urine samples. Fourteen patients providing 21 urine samples had been prescribed temazepam for treatment. However, temazepam was detected in only 14 of these samples. Multiple benzodiazepine abuse was evident from the high rate of detection of unrelated benzodiazepines.

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