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Guidelines for the Prescription of
Benzodiazepines in Norway

National Board of Health
Statens helsetilsyn
Vanedannende legemidler
Forskrivning og forsvarlighet

September 14, 2001


  • Benzodiazepines should only be used under accepted clinical conditions

  • The doctor should be critical of repeat prescriptions because of the risk of dependence

  • Patients suffering from chronic illnesses should be monitored carefully

  • Before benzodiazepine treatment begins both doctor and patient should devise a treatment plan and agree the purpose, duration and end of treatment

  • Regular daily use of benzodiazepines should not exceed 4 weeks

  • Dosage should be proportional to the duration of treatment

  • Careful verbal and written information should be given on the occasion of the first prescription

  • If treatment is necessary for longer than the agreed time, the patient should attend for an appointment with the doctor. The doctor shall then emphasise the risks of reduced effectiveness and the development of withdrawal problems



  1. Is treatment indicated based on the patient's own history or diagnosis?

  2. Has non-medical treatment first been evaluated?

  3. Was both verbal and written information given on the occasion of the first prescription?

  4. Has the smallest quantity been prescribed?

  5. Have elderly people been prescribed half the normal adult dose?

  6. Has it been emphasised that daily use will not exceed 2 weeks?

  7. Has there been a re-evaluation and consultation on the occasion of a subsequent prescription?

Guidelines governing the prescription of
benzodiazepines around the world

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