The Editorial Executive Committee welcomes letters, which should be less than 250 words. Before a decision to publish is made, letters which refer to a published article may be sent to the author for a response. Any letter may be sent to an expert for comment. When letters are published, they are usually accompanied in the same issue by their responses or comments. The Committee screens out discourteous, inaccurate or libellous statements. The letters are sub-edited before publication. Authors are required to declare any conflicts of interest. The Committee's decision on publication is final.
Letter to the editor
Editor, – I was disappointed to read certain advice and factual inaccuracies in the article regarding issues relating to the use/misuse of temazepam capsules (Aust Prescr 2004;27:58-9). The withdrawal by Sigma of its temazepam capsules from the market has not led to a complete lack of this drug in Australia and temazepam gelcap injection still continues to be a problem.
Furthermore, I am concerned about the comment, 'in this instance they have a duty of care not to prescribe benzodiazepines'. While doctors should not respond to coercion, as alluded to in the article, appropriate management of benzodiazepine abuse/dependence might include notification to the relevant government department and an appropriate prescription for benzodiazepines (usually diazepam) in controlled amounts; such as by daily, or alternate daily, pick-up from a nominated chemist. Such an approach, conducted as part of a planned strategy to attempt to gradually wean the patient off benzodiazepines, is a more appropriate, caring and responsible response to a request for benzodiazepines than an outright refusal. It will ensure that the individual will not suffer the possibility of withdrawal seizures as well as diminishing the possibility of ever-increasing demands on other healthcare providers further down the track as the individual becomes ever more desperate in their attempt to obtain such drugs.
Director, Drug and Alcohol Services
Delmont Private Hospital