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> Valium (and benzodiazepines in general) aren't prescribed as much these days because of their addictive potential.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/01/25/6882878...

What were the prescription rates in the 60s?






I'm genuinely surprised. Maybe it's just for psych ailments (e.g. anxiety) that use has declined.

> the biggest rise in prescriptions during this time period was for back pain and other types of chronic pain.

Now I'm doubly surprised. Some benzos have muscle relaxant properties but I've never heard of them prescribed for pain.

(I've never experienced benzo withdrawal but I've heard it claimed to be as bad as opiate withdrawal.)


> claimed to be as bad as opiate withdrawal.

Benzo withdrawal can be much much worse than opiate withdrawal.

Opioid withdrawal is comparatively benign.

Compare:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opioid_use_disorder

and

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzodiazepine_withdrawal_synd...


I've had valium for a spinal tap (2nd attempt). Alongside a numbing agent, I didn't care what they did.

Which is a key for using such medicines for pain: You might be in pain, but you don't care. My understanding is that for folks allergic to anesthesia, they can literally relax them enough that the person doesn't care if they are doing surgery on them. They don't feel the pain either, but it isn't generally as convenient as folks being put under.


> Some benzos have muscle relaxant properties but I've never heard of them prescribed for pain.

Back pain is thought to be mostly psychological, so it makes sense. Also, if you have minor tears or congenital defects in tissue around your spinal cord then anxiety can cause inflammation, which can then cause your spinal fluid to push against your actual spinal cord and cause all sorts of problems. (Or something like this, I'm not a doctor but that's the basic idea.)


>> Back pain is thought to be mostly psychological

Do you have a credibility source to back that up?


I'm very skeptical of this. A common claim that's long been floated around the medical community, most recently in the "evidence-based" medical community, is that if there isn't a hard test for a condition, then it's psychosomatic. It's an arrogant and abusive conclusion that's also ironic: we don't have a diagnostic test to prove it, so the cause is something that also doesn't have a diagnostic test.

It does sound a bit like archaeology and ascribing religious purpose to any structure or artifact we cannot identify as something else.

You can also call it "Mysterious Answers to Mysterious Questions"[0] -- if the matter seems a mystery, well, then the answer surely must be a mystery as well! I cannot be something simple and comprehensible

[0] https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6i3zToomS86oj9bS6/mysterious...


I took Valium for a back muscle spasm and it worked perfectly, although it may have been mostly psychological.

Ridiculously high. A quick search reveals that:

> After about ten years on the market, Valium had been prescribed to 59.3 million patients [0]

The US population in 1970 was about 200 million. A significant portion of the adult US population took valium at some point during the 60s/70s.

[0] https://www.valiumaddiction.com/history-of-v.htm


Interesting. The NYT says 59.3 million prescriptions, not patients. [0] If so the number of patients would presumably be significantly lower, since it is in fact addictive.

[0] https://www.nytimes.com/1976/02/01/archives/article-16-no-ti...


Interesting that the numbers are the same, I think it’s just coincidence, they are measuring different things on different time scales. It peaked in 1978 with several billion pills being dispensed in a single year. I had a psych professor that said that 70% of US adults were on Valium at some point during the 70s. Anecdotal but I think it’s in the right ballpark.

Ridiculously high.

Ridiculously high because they were touted as safer alternatives to the then popular barbiturates. Benzos are safer, it just turns out that benzos also have not-so-great long-term effects.




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