Popular anti-anxiety medications need stronger warning labels, Health Canada says

published on October 30, 2020 in CBC News

Health Canada has asked pharmaceutical companies to put stronger safety labels on benzodiazepines and other sedative drugs prescribed for sleep and anxiety disorder to better reflect their serious risks.

Doctors have long prescribed benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (brand name Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin) in the short term to treat anxiety, insomnia and certain seizure disorders. But people can become dependent and an overdose can result in a coma or even death.

Pharmacist Mina Tadrous is also a scientist at Women’s College Hospital and an investigator with the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN).

“They work really well, but they’ve also become part of popular culture,” Tadrous said. “People talk about ‘popping a Xanax’ and using different types of drugs, so that’s becoming more and more common.”…

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