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Home > Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines. An evidence review.

Taylor, Stephen and Annand, Fizz and Burkinshaw, Peter and Greaves, Felix and Kelleher, Michael and Knight, Jonathan and Perkins, Clare and Tran, Anh and White, Martin and Marsden, John (2019) Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines. An evidence review. London: Public Health England.

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In 2017, the minister for public health and primary care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to identify the scale, distribution and causes of prescription drug dependence, and what might be done to address it. 

The review covered adults (aged 18 and over) and 5 classes of medicines:

  • benzodiazepines (mostly prescribed for anxiety)
  • z-drugs (sleeping tablets with effects similar to benzodiazepines)
  • gabapentin and pregabalin (together called gabapentinoids and used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain and, in the case of pregabalin, anxiety)
  • opioids for chronic non-cancer pain
  • antidepressants

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