Benzo Detox Medications
Various medications can help with the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal. Detox facilities will monitor you for withdrawal symptoms and prescribe medications as needed.
Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that can also help to treat depression. This can be particularly helpful in patients going through benzo withdrawal who experience both anxiety and depression. This medication has few side effects and is usually well tolerated.
Flumazenil is a prescription medication that reverses benzos. It is often used in emergencies as a rescue medication to counteract benzos, similar to how naloxone reverses opioids rapidly. When used at low doses or as a subcutaneous infusion given over four days, flumazenil can help rapidly counteract benzos. However, it is essential to note that this rapid change can sometimes cause seizures, and the drug should only be used in a medical setting with extensive monitoring.
Clonidine is traditionally prescribed as a blood pressure medication. However, this medication has helped many going through withdrawal. It is believed that clonidine helps alleviate anxiety during withdrawal because of its effects on brain neurotransmitters. However, its use is limited by its effects on blood pressure.
Magnesium may be effective in helping to treat drug addiction and abuse. In one study, magnesium was found to reduce the intensity of addiction to various substances. It may also alter brain neurotransmitters in a way that reduces the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, magnesium may become deficient in times of stress and lead to a higher likelihood of relapse, so taking magnesium supplements may help.
Keppra is the brand name of levetiracetam and is another antiepileptic medication. Keppra has demonstrated some promise as an option for benzo withdrawal in animal and small-scale human studies. However, as with many other drugs, Keppra may not be for everyone because it has the possibility of severe side effects.
Ondansetron is an antiemetic (antinausea) medication. This medication has been studied as a possible treatment for anxiety experienced during benzo withdrawal. However, more studies are necessary before ondansetron can be widely prescribed for this purpose, as it can have potential cardiac side effects.
Many anticonvulsants have been studied for benzo withdrawal, including lamotrigine, valproic acid and carbamazepine. Many are mood stabilizers that can benefit those undergoing benzo withdrawal. While each medication in this class works differently, they all work to decrease excitability in the brain. This change in the brain reduces the chances of seizures. Unfortunately, many of these drugs require close monitoring and have side effect profiles that may restrict their use.