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Benzo Abuse and Effects Depend on Age

When it comes to medical benzo dosage, age plays a major role. The elderly people are adversely affected by the drug compared to the younger generations. Whether the drug is short-, intermediate- or long-acting, the prescription needs to be done correctly to avoid any harmful side effects on the patient.

For instance the elimination half-life of chlordiazepoxide and diazepam as well any other long half-life benzo lasts twice as long in elderly patients as compared to younger patients. Many physicians tend to prescribe the medication to patients without paying much attention to their ages. This could in effect prove to be detrimental to the patient’s health and recovery, leading to addiction and other problems.

However age is not the only consideration on how the benzo drug performs in the patient’s system. The health status of several body organs such as the liver also plays a part. Patients with impaired liver metabolize the benzo drug considerably slowly. This makes the drug to take a long time to stay in their system as well as taking a longer time to be cleared out.

Thus for correct dosage, the doctor needs to take into account the patient’s age and the status of his health in terms of liver functioning. There may be certain cases where a patient overdoses on the benzo drugs. To counteract the ill-effect of this, another benzo drug referred to as Flumazenil is used as an imidazobenzodiazepine derivative. It essentially acts as an antidote, and reverses the effects of overdosing on benzodiazepine drugs. It also used as an antidote in overdose of non-benzodiazepine “Z-drug” like Lunesta and Ambien.

It should be noted that Flumazenil is actually contraindicated to be taken by benzodiazepine-tolerant patients in the event of an overdose. In such a scenario the potential risks are greater than the benefits. Some of these risks include severe seizure. Flumazenil acts as an antidote by preventing the Z-drugs and benzodiazepines from binding with the GABAA receptors through competitive inhibition that the Flumazenil creates. During the treatment, the doctor conducts clinical observation and notes down the patient’s status of respiration, oxygen levels, blood and heart pressure which are much safer compared to the seizure effects that could be realized from Flumazenil.

Potential effects from overdose of benzo drugs such as abnormal rates of respiration, cardiovascular systems and the pulmonary rates will require supportive care to mediate on the potential devastation they could have been undergoing. Often doctors use activated charcoal/carbon to prevent benzo from being absorbed into the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. Another option would be to pump the stomach or gastric lavage but is currently not a common practice anymore.

In cases where some Central Nervous System depressants are detected, the treatment is usually endotrachial intubations of the airway path and giving of supportive oxygen are used since they are safer than Flumazenil.

These problems are only complicated if the person has an addiction to benzos. If this is the case, please consult with a doctor and enter into a detox treatment program today so as to avoid these effects.