Canadian Guidelines on Benzodiazepine Receptor Agonist Use Disorder Among Older Adults


  • David K. Conn Baycrest Health Sciences, University of Toronto
  • David B. Hogan Brenda Strafford Centre on Aging, O’Brien Institute for Public Health, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
  • Lori Amdam Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health
  • Keri-Leigh Cassidy Dalhousie University
  • Peter Cordell McMaster University
  • Christopher Frank Queen’s University
  • David Gardner Dalhousie University
  • Morris Goldhar
  • Joanne M-W Ho McMaster University
  • Christopher Kitamura Baycrest Health Sciences
  • Nancy Vasil University of Montreal




Benzodiazepine receptor agonist (BZRA) use disorder among older adults is a relatively common and challenging clinical condition.


The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health, with financial support from Health Canada, has produced evidencebased guidelines on the prevention, identification, assessment, and management of this form of substance use disorder.


Inappropriate use of BZRAs should be avoided by considering non-pharmacological approaches to the management of late life insomnia, anxiety, and other common indications for the use of BZRA. Older persons should only be prescribed BZRAs after they are fully informed of alternatives, benefits, and risks associated with their use. Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for the presence of BZRA use disorders. The full version of these guidelines can be accessed at


A person-centred, stepped care approach utilizing gradual dose reductions should be used in the management of BZRA use disorder.


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How to Cite

Conn DK, Hogan DB, Amdam L, Cassidy K-L, Cordell P, Frank C, Gardner D, Goldhar M, Ho JM-W, Kitamura C, Vasil N. Canadian Guidelines on Benzodiazepine Receptor Agonist Use Disorder Among Older Adults . Can Geriatr J [Internet]. 2020 Mar. 13 [cited 2024 Feb. 23];23(1):116-22. Available from:



Clinical Practice Guidelines/Consensus Statements