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Treatment of Diazepam Withdrawal Syndrome with Propranolol

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Supported in part by grant MH-34223 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and grant 77-611 from the Foundations' Fund for Research in Psychiatry.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to David J. Greenblatt, M.D.; Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Box 1007, New England Medical Center Hospital, 171 Harrison Avenue; Boston, MA 02111.

New England Medical Center Hospital and Tufts University School of MedicineBoston, Massachusetts.

Ann Intern Med. 1981;94(3):354-355. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-94-3-354
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This excerpt has been provided in the absence of an abstract.

True physiologic addiction to diazepam has been reliably described in isolated cases by documentation of a physical withdrawal syndrome characterized by agitation, tachycardia, and diaphoresis and, rarely, hallucinations, psychosis, and seizures (1). Although usually occurring after prolonged use of high doses, in one case a withdrawal syndrome occurred after abrupt withdrawal of diazepam after long-term use in a usual therapeutic dose (2). The present report describes a case of diazepam withdrawal syndrome after long-term ingestion of extremely high doses. The case was documented and the patient effectively treated with propranolol.

Plasma levels of diazepam and desmethyldiazepam, the biologically active demethylated


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