The epidemiology of benzodiazepine-related toxicity in Ontario, Canada

A population-based descriptive study

Benzodiazepines are commonly used for the treatment of anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizure disorders, as well as for alcohol withdrawal, muscle relaxation, and sedation. Benzodiazepine toxicity can occur when these drugs are taken in high doses or when they are ingested with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or opioids.

This study describes the epidemiology of benzodiazepine-related toxicity in Ontario, specifically the trends over time in healthcare encounters for benzodiazepine-related toxicity, characteristics of individuals who experienced benzodiazepine-related toxicity, and trends in prescribing history and polysubstance involvement in benzodiazepine-related toxicity incidents.

The ODPRN Citizens’ Panel identified this topic as being of interest to the public and was involved in all steps of the research process.

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