From the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave, LY318, Boston, MA 02215.
At Psychiatry Grand Rounds in November 1998, Carl Salzman, MD,1 discussed the risks and benefits of benzodiazepines.
Ms B, an 87-year-old woman, described many years of low mood punctuated by
episodes of anxiety. She articulated her sense of well being, which she attributed
to the use of Xanax (alprazolam). She described a long struggle with her primary
care physician over the dosage level. Though she never suffered any ill consequences
from the use of alprazolam, even at levels of 0.5 mg, 4 times per day, her
physician did successfully taper her dosage down to 0.5 mg at bedtime by treating
her mild dysthymia with 20 mg of paroxetine daily. Her medical regimen remains
the same. Dr Salzman felt this combination was appropriate for her needs.
In our follow-up interview, Ms B spoke in a monotone voice with little affect.
Parker RA, Hartman EE. An 87-Year-Old Woman Taking a Benzodiazepine, 1 Year Later. JAMA. 1999;282(20):1960. doi:10.1001/jama.282.20.1960