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Comment & Response
July 2015

Benzodiazepines in Anxiety Disorders

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
  • 3Department of Anesthesiology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(7):733-734. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0182

To the Editor In their Editorial, Moore and colleagues1 questioned the clinical usefulness of benzodiazepines, emphasized their addicting potential, and questioned why they are not controlled substances, such as barbiturates and opioids. However, their opinions run counter to the evidence that is available.

First, benzodiazepines provide an effective pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders.2 Their use has been in part supplanted by second-generation antidepressant drugs in recent years but this has occurred without any supporting evidence. Indeed, when benzodiazepines and antidepressants were directly compared in clinical trials, the superiority of benzodiazepines both in efficacy and adverse effect profile emerged.2

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