Diazepam stopped abruptly

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I’ve a doctor’s appointment on Monday. I’ve been taking diazepam for over a year at 5mg a day. I changed doctors about six weeks ago. It was a struggle to get more diazepam off the doctor I saw three weeks ago. I’m worried that the doctor I will see on Monday will stop my diazepam. If the doctor I see on Monday stops my diazepam, what do I do to get another prescription for diazepam. I only have one week of diazepam left. Is there a safety net, so I don’t have to suffer cold turkey coming off diazepam abruptly?

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  • Posted

    I am a retired medical professional but from the U.S. I will try to provide a helpful response if possible. Firstly, it seems that the original prescribing physician would have addressed an appropriate step-down unless you changed physicians for reasons not explained in your post. There is also some confusion regarding how many physicians are involved. There is the original prescribing physician, the physician that you changed to six weeks ago, the doctor you saw three weeks ago and the physician you see on Monday. Unless you departed from the original prescribing physician under negative circumstances, then it is likely the best option for a step-down prescription with instructions to follow.

    There are other considerations as well. If you are 65 years of age or older then diazepam works somewhat differently than it does in persons younger in age. In the 65 and older group, Diazepam develops a longer half-life because it becomes stored in adipose tissues, or body fat. This process tends to stretch the half-life of the medication. If unfamiliar with the term, half-life is the time it takes for one half of the active metabolite in a medication to ultimately be excreted from the body. The shorter the half-life, the more prone a medication is to present withdrawal side-effects.

    Diazepam is unique in this instance and is often used for withdrawal from other addictions such as alcohol or in the instance of medications, shorter half-life variants. Diazepam is also one of the most subtle medications in undergoing withdrawal. 5 mg qd or per day over a period of one year is a small dose and its withdrawal is commonly uneventful, nevertheless requiring a step-down process since people respond differently to removal of the active metabolite of the drug from their system. Insomnia is the most salient complaint.

    Again, unless you are unable to revisit the original prescribing physician for assistance in the step-down process, it is the best course to proceed. It is doubtful that any physician would simply terminate this type of medication absent some period of step-down.

    Best regards

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