Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More On Everyone's Favorite Medication: Xanax

First, check out Roy's post below from earlier today; he tells us how to cure alcoholism! Click Here.
[I do nothing of the kind, don't listen to her.]

So the New York Times has a health blog, and if you ask me, today it's trying to be Shrink Rap. In today's Post, For Some Bereaved, Pain Pills Without End,
the unnamed author talks about the ease with which physicians ( primary care docs) prescribe benzodiazepines for acute grief, the ease with which they refill these scripts-- often for years at a time--, the ease with which these patients become addicted and suffer from side effects:

Powerful benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium and Ativan are widely overused in older patients, many experts fear, leading to serious health worries, including sleep troubles, cognitive difficulties, car crashes and falls. Yet doctors in the survey seemed willing to offer unlimited amounts of these addictive drugs to help patients cope with death.

The study is small-- it consists of 33 primary care docs in Philadelphia, and interviews with 50 older patients who've taken benzodiazepines for years: 20% said they began taking benzodiazepines during a period of grieving. Want details? Read the original article HERE.

As always, the reader comments are as enlightening as the blog post itself (ah, that's true here at Shrink Rap as well).

Interesting stuff, but I guess I think the sample here is so small as to be useless. Half the docs said they'd prescribed benzos for grief (so at least 16.5 primary care docs) and 10 patients started chronic benzodiapine use after a death. I'm not surprised, I'm not commenting on anyone's practice, I guess I just don't like the tone of the blog post which somehow paints the docs as ignorant, perhaps lazy, may be even negligent or sinister.

Finally, please note that I stole my "grief" graphic from a Red Sox blog: