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My mother in law is 93 and has been taking oxazepam for the…

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My mother in law...

My mother in law is 93 and has been taking oxazepam for the last 4 years. Her health is good for her age. She broke her hip one year ago and she has done well and gets around well in a walker. Recently she moved in to an assisted living home. The doctor she saw when she was admitted has become very definite in the feeling that she needs to quit taking this drug. We have known for years that she’s become addicted to this medication. The doctor is wanting to take her off the medication. This seems extreme to me for a 93 year old. I’m not sure what to do. My mother in law is adamant she doesn’t want to get off the medication. What do we do?

Doctor's Assistant: What medications do you take daily? Are you allergic to any medications?

She takes Zoloft and a low blood pressure medication. Not allergic to anything

Doctor's Assistant: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?

No she is in fairly good heath for her age. Mild dementia. Does have some anxiety at times

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Medical
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Answered in 18 minutes by:
11/27/2017
Doctor: Dr. Muneeb Ali, Doctor replied 6 months ago
Dr. Muneeb Ali
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 9,635
Experience: MBBS, MD, MCCM. Currently working in Critical Care Medicine with 10 year experience in Medicine
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Hi,
Welcome to JA and thanks for this question. I'm sorry to hear about your mother in law's situation. Actually, her doctor is right, she should be off oxazepam for a number of reasons. Given her age, the likelihood that this medication can cause problems for her is much more than whatever benefit this drug is providing her with. This means that if she stays on the drug then it can cause worsening of her dementia as benzodiazepines can lead to memory loss, drowsiness among other issues. it can also cause problems in breathing especially if her lungs are affected by any other underlying disease.

Now while I do agree with your doctor regarding taking her off the drug, I would advise a VERY SLOW tapering process over the course of 8-12 weeks in order to eliminate any withdrawal symptoms which may occur. As long as the tapering process is slow and steady then she would not experience any withdrawal effects or any dangerous withdrawal effects. Her age would not be a factor in taking her off the medication as long as it is done in a planned and gradual manner.

The other option of her staying on the medication is not a good one, as I said it can lead to problems later on. These problems can develop in a few months or a couple of years but they will develop as long-term benzodiazepines in this age group are not recommended at all.

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Doctor: Dr. Muneeb Ali, Doctor replied 6 months ago

Would you like to know anything else? Any clarifications or additional questions that you might have, i would be happy to answer them for you. If done for now, please remember to leave a positive rating as that is the only way we are compensated for our time spent helping you. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the rating.

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