Benzodiazepines withdrawal management is often accompanied by anxiety, resulting in a risk of relapse and the prescription of additional medications. A dry extract of Passiflora incarnata L. has previously demonstrated its usefulness in the first-line treatment of anxiety symptoms.
Subjects and methods
We performed a longitudinal study over a 3-month period wherein we initiated this medication in patients who were discontinuing long-term benzodiazepine use. Patients included in the study were all sufficiently stable and had been followed-up for at least three months in consultation. The benzodiazepine decrease scheduled was 25% of the initial dose every second week. Specific psychiatric interviewing was not used either before or during the study. We assessed the evolution of the anxiety score and the number of sexual intercourses in the course of drug withdrawal.
Overall, 91 patients participated to this study, including 27 men (36.5%) and 47 women (63.5%). The mean age was 44.1 ± 11.0 years. The withdrawal success rate was 78.4% (95% CI: 69.0-87.8%). There was a clear and highly significant decrease in the Hamilton scale's anxiety scores, while the monthly frequency of intercourse was shown to slightly, though significantly, increase. Treatment with Passiflora incarnata L. was pursued in 70.3% of patients following total withdrawal of or reduction in benzodiazepine dosing.
A dry extract of Passiflora incarnata L. was shown to be safe, with significant favorable effects on anxiety scores. This product, therefore, may likely be used to improve benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.