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Tranquillisers Wednesday, 9 May, 2001, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Tranquilliser Expert Pam Armstrong answered your questions
Pam Armstrong answers your questions
Pam Armstrong, the founder of Counselling and Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction (CITA), answered your questions on the dangers of taking tranquillisers.

Transcript:

Abilio Coelho
Do you think that SSRI drugs like prozac are more effective than benzodiazepines for treating anxiety?

Pam Armstrong
They are not more effective. These drugs also have problems associated with them. I consider they are also addictive. We have people who are having great problems coming off them. There are also a number of side effects that people are suffering, including personality changes, aggression, insomnia and some people become suicidal on them. In some cases they do work well but this is only in 50% of the time in my opinion.

Amanda Jameson
I am on paroxetine for panic attacks, can these be addictive?

Pam Armstrong
The answer is yes it can be addictive. All the SSRIs seem to be addictive and an article written by Charles Medawar showed that proxitine was the most addictive of all the SSRIs, published in the International Journal of Risk in Medicine in 1999 November.

Dave Watts
Is zopiclone (Zimovane) a benzodiazepine?

Pam Armstrong
It is not claimed to be a benzodiazepine. It is called a cyclopirrilone. But we are finding that it behaves identically to a benzodiazepine and we withdraw people by switching them over to diazepam and using a slow withdrawal method.

Riaz Esmail
What practical steps would you suggest to health care professionals who are concerned about involuntary addiction?

Pam Armstrong
It would be a good idea to contact CITA or to contact the website.

Simon Roberts
Is it possible for people to successfully come of these drugs using natural herbal remedies such as Kalms, if their daily dosage is around the 5mg mark?

Pam Armstrong
They would still need to carry out a very gradual withdraw programme. We would transfer them to diazapam if they were not already on it using a programme of withdrawal cutting down by 1 milligrame every l to 2 weeks. KALMS or any natural remedy could be used to help with the programme but it should not just be substituted for the benzodiazepine.

If you want further information or advice about tranquilliser dependence, you can send questions to the tranquilliser message board.

Panorama: Special report on tranquillisers


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