, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 355-358

Gradual withdrawal from benzodiazepines in residents of homes for the elderly: experience and suggestions for future research

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Abstract

Objective

A randomised, controlled clinical trial was performed to study the long-term effect of gradual withdrawal from benzodiazepines on the daily functioning of residents of homes for the elderly. The planned sample size was not achieved due to recruitment and follow-up problems.

Results

The results in this small sample nevertheless suggest that gradual withdrawal from benzodiazepines is possible in residents of homes for the elderly, and that it can have a positive effect on their daily functioning. No major withdrawal symptoms were observed, although there was a decrease in sleep quality during withdrawal.

Conclusion

The findings are promising for further research, but researchers should anticipate the problems inherent in executing a trial with institutionalised elderly subjects.