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Discharge Instructions: Taking Benzodiazepines

Your doctor prescribed a benzodiazepine for you. Benzodiazepines are a type of antianxiety drug. Some people have unusually high levels of anxiety that can interfere with everyday life. For these people, benzodiazepines can help bring this anxiety under control. The medication can also relieve troubling symptoms related to anxiety, such as pounding heartbeat, breathing problems, irritability, nausea, and faintness. Some patients take benzodiazepines to control seizures.

The name of my benzodiazepine is ____________________________________________.

Guidelines for Use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking, including over-the-counter or herbal medications.

  • Remember, this medication can be habit-forming when taken regularly, especially if more than the prescribed amount is taken.

  • Take this medication exactly as directed. Don’t take a higher dose or take it more often than prescribed without talking with your doctor, even if you believe the medication is not working as expected.

  • Don’t stop taking this medication without talking with your doctor. If you wish to stop taking it, your doctor will need to help you taper off the medication gradually.

  • Don’t drink alcohol while taking this medication.

  • Don’t take this medication if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

  • Don’t taking antacids within 2 hours of taking a benzodiazepine, because antacids may interfere with absorption of the medication.

  • Store this medication in a cool, safe place away from the reach of children.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Behavior changes

  • Confusion

  • Depression

  • Seizures (convulsions)

  • Hallucinations

  • Increased nervousness, excitability, or irritability

  • Involuntary movements of your body, including your eyes

  • Unusual weakness or tiredness

  • Skin rash or itching

  • Unusual bleeding or bruising

  • Yellow skin or eyes

  • Sore throat

  • Sores in your mouth or throat

  • Fever and chills

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any of these side effects. Don’t stop taking the medication until your doctor tells you to. Mild side effects include:

  • Drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Trouble learning


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