Have you heard of Ativan (generic name lorazepam), and of the risks of benzodiazepines drugs in older adults? Is an older person you care for taking prescription medication for sleep, anxiety, or “nerves”?
Would you like an easy, practical tool to help someone stop a drug whose risks often outweigh the benefits?
If so, I have good news: a wonderful patient education tool has been created by a well-respected expert in geriatrics, Dr. Cara Tannenbaum. Best of all, a randomized trial has proved that this tool works.
As in, 62% older adults who received this tool — a brochure with a quiz followed by key information — discussed stopping the medication with a doctor or pharmacist, and 27% were successful in discontinuing their benzodiazepine. The brochure includes a handy illustrated guide on slowly and safely weaning a person off these habit-forming drugs.
This is big news because although experts widely agree that long-term benzodiazepine use should be avoided in older adults, getting doctors and patients to work together to stop has been tough. It is, after all, generally easier to start a tranquilizer than to stop it!
But through a patient education brochure, Dr. Tannenbaum’s team was able to make this tricky process much more doable for older adults, their families, and their doctors.