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American Society for Action on Pain

UI - 000125

AU - King SA

AU - Strain JJ

TI - Benzodiazepine use by chronic pain patients

AB - Of 114 patients presenting to the Pain Management Service at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine

with chronic pain, 38% (N = 43) were taking one or more benzodiazepine drugs at the time of the initial

assessment. The majority of patients were chronic users, with 14% (N = 6) having taken the medications for

1-2 years and 46% (N = 20) for 2 years or longer. Ninety-three percent (N = 40) of those given a

benzodiazepine drug stated that it was initiated after the onset of pain. Although 86% (N = 37) were using

the medication (all or in part) to improve sleep, they continued to report as many problems with sleep as the

nonbenzodiazepine group did. Other drugs prescribed concurrently with the benzodiazepine drugs were

narcotic drugs (58% of patients), antidepressant drugs (32%), nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents (26%),

and others (16%). Benzodiazepines have been reported to provide little therapeutic benefit to chronic pain

patients, and may even exacerbate their symptoms. We have shown that benzodiazepine drugs are frequently

prescribed for long-term use, for sleep, and in conjunction with narcotic drugs. Such use is contrary to

generally accepted guidelines

SO - Clinical Journal of Pain 1990;6:143-14