Fighting benzodiazepine misuse in Lithuania: detoxification treatment results in the single-centre toxicology department

Gabija Valauskaitė1, Gabrielė Repšytė2, Deimantė Andriuškevičiūtė3, Deima Eitmontaitė4, Robertas Badaras5,6

1Lithuanian University of Health Science, Department of Intensive Care, Kaunas, Lithuania

2Lithuanian University of Health Science, Department of Psychiatry, Kaunas, Lithuania

3Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania

4Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine, Clinic of Emergency Medicine, Vilnius, Lithuania

5Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine, Clinic of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Centre of Toxicology, Vilnius, Lithuania

6Republican Vilnius University Hospital, Vilnius, Lithuania


Background. Chronic use of benzodiazepines frequently leads to physical dependence. In Lithuania, detoxification services are provided to individuals suffering from benzodiazepine addiction.

Aim. The purpose of our study was to find out the existing links and differences between patient gender, age, characteristics of benzodiazepine consumption, and the course of treatment.

Materials and methods. This retrospective study was conducted at Toxicology Centre of Republican Vilnius University Hospital. 48 patients who had been treated from 2011 January to 2018 March with the principal diagnosis of sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic-related dependence (ICD-10 F13.2) were included in the final analysis. MS Excel and IBM SPSS 23.0 were used for data analysis, statistical significance was assumed when p<0.05.

Results. An indirect intermediate correlation between benzodiazepine dose-at-arrival for treatment and age was found (rPhi=-0.16, p=0.029), as well as a direct weak link between dose-at-arrival and dose-at-discharge from the hospital (rPhi=0.420, p=0.005). Male patients used higher doses of benzodiazepines (p=0.012). Alcohol-consuming patients spent less time hospitalized (p=0.02). Women were hospitalized longer than men (p=0,02). Link between durations of inpatient treatment and benzodiazepine consumption was intermediate and direct (Spearman‘s r=0.310, p=0.032). An intermediate direct relationship between the duration of benzodiazepine consumption and number of additionally administered medicines was found (Spearman’s r=0.420, p=0.005).

Conclusions. Men and younger patients had used higher doses of benzodiazepines. Patients, who had used higher doses, were prescribed a higher dose of benzodiazepines and a higher number of additional medicines at discharge. Inpatient treatment time was longer for women and for the patients, who had used benzodiazepines longer. Detoxification from benzodiazepines was shorter for alcohol-consuming patients.

Keywords: benzodiazepines; withdrawal; addiction; detoxification.

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