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Community Care Supports Best Practice Guidelines for the Management of Benzodiazepines in Medication-Assisted Treatment Released by Philadelphia DBHIDS

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With support from Community Care Behavioral Health Organization (Community Care) and the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA), the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS)  has released guidelines for management of benzodiazepines in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) focusing on methadone treatment.

The guidelines – titled, "Management of Benzodiazepines in Medication-Assisted Treatment" – are designed as a resource to clinicians. The best practices are divided into seven categories: general guidelines, assessment for MAT, addressing benzodiazepine use, MAT for patients with concurrent benzodiazepine use, noncompliance with treatment agreement, risk management/impairment assessment, and special circumstances.

"These best practices provide physicians and other clinicians with a resource guide," said James M. Schuster, MD, MBA, Chief Medical Officer for Community Care. "Community Care hopes that the best practices will promote effective treatment practices that very carefully manage and monitor the use of benzodiazepines by individuals who use benzodiazepines while in MAT." 

General guidelines include the following:

  • CNS depressant use is not an absolute contraindication for the use of either methadone or buprenorphine in MAT, but is a reason for caution because of potential respiratory depression. Serious overdose and death may occur if MAT is administered in conjunction with benzodiazepines, sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants, or alcohol.
  • Many people presenting to services have an extensive history of multiple substance dependence and all substance abuse, including benzodiazepines, should be actively addressed in treatment.
  • MAT should not always be discontinued for persistent benzodiazepine abuse, but requires the implementation of risk management strategies.

"The Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services is grateful to Community Care and IRETA for their support in the development and dissemination of this important resource for clinicians, community stakeholders, and most importantly, people in recovery," said Dr. Matthew Hurford, Chief Medical Officer, DBHIDS.

The full guidelines can be found on the Community Care website at

About Community Care
Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, a nonprofit, tax-exempt recovery-focused behavioral health managed care organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, manages mental health and substance use disorder services for approximately 750,000 Medical Assistance recipients in Pennsylvania. Community Care also serves as the behavioral health organization for the Hudson River Region of New York State. Part of UPMC, Community Care was incorporated in 1996 with a mission to improve the health and well-being of the community through the delivery of effective and accessible behavioral health services.

SOURCE Community Care Behavioral Health Organization
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