Managing diazepam abuse in an AIDS-related psychiatric clinic with a high percentage of substance abusers

Jeffrey B. Freedman, Mary Alice O'Dowd, F. Patrick Mckegney, Isabel J. Kaplan, Genya Bernstein, David J. Biderman, Maria F. Gomez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Controversy over using benzodiazepines in a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive population to relieve sleep and anxiety has not been addressed in the literature. Serious problems with diazepam abuse emerged in a psychiatric outpatient clinic for a predominately HIV-positive and illicit drug-using population, which led to a review of patient characteristics and prescribing policies and to a systematic problem-solving effort. The patients originally prescribed diazepam were significantly more likely to be on methadone and have histories of intravenous drug use compared with the patients not on benzodiazepines. Thus, the patients asking for diazepam are likely to have histories of substance abuse and have a high potential for abusing the medication. The authors found that diazepam can be discontinued without causing a significantly greater drop-out rate in that group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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