Prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice

Part B - Benzodiazepines

Resource A. Examples of responses to patient requests for benzodiazepines

Last revised: 03 Dec 2019


To provide GPs with examples of responses to specific inappropriate and maladaptive patient requests for benzodiazepines.

Reducing the incidence of requests

Before the actual consult, there are a number of things that practices can do to decrease the incidence of inappropriate and maladaptive requests for medications:

  • When new patients make an appointment, ask the receptionist to give the following information, ‘The doctor, when seeing you for the first time, will do a detailed assessment and may need additional information from your previous doctors prior to making any treatment decisions, including prescribing medicines’.
  • Inform patients of practice-wide policies regarding prescribing, including reviewing prescribing for existing patients. This may involve a sign in the waiting room.
  • Develop clear plans for all staff on how to respond to requests for benzodiazepines using scripted response.

Example responses to inappropriate requests for medications

Alprazolam and temazepam are frequently used in the scenarios below, but may be substituted for other benzodiazepines. Some responses are specific for alprazolam or temazepam as both medications have undergone changes to their Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listing and Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) scheduling.

Table A.1 gives some examples of responses to patient requests and includes a rationale for the response. Note that all responses are examples only and should be adapted to individual clinical circumstances.

Table A.1.

Table A.1.

Sample responses to inappropriate requests for medications