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September NaN, 1999

Should Benzodiazepines in an 87-Year-Old Woman Be Tapered and Discontinued?

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(12):1128. doi:10.1001/jama.282.12.1128

To the Editor: A recent Clinical Crossroads1 presented an 87-year-old woman taking a benzodiazepine for at least 15 years in addition to diphenhydramine hydrochloride as needed. Dr Salzman suggested that the patient continue with this regimen because he believed the patient experienced a continuous therapeutic effect. Salzman acknowledged the detrimental effect of benzodiazepines on short- and long-term memory in the elderly, but dismissed it based on data from his unpublished findings that many patients accept the loss of "sharp memory" for a "day that calms."

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