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Benzodiazepine Anxiolytic Review and Approaches for Transitioning to Alternate Therapies

Benzodiazepines are used for the treatment of anxiety and prevention of symptoms. Clinical anxiety is an increasingly common ailment, so pharmacists should be equipped to answer patient questions and advise on courses of treatment. While the benefits of the benzodiazepines are undeniable, there is some risk involved with their usage. This module will educate healthcare professionals on recommended usages of benzodiazepines, the risks and benefits of the drug class compared to non-benzodiazepine treatments for anxiety, and how to optimize the tapering/switching processes with the safety of patients in mind.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, the participant will be able to:

  • List the expert recommendations for use of benzodiazepines primarily in anxiety and sleep disorders
  • Compare the risks and benefits of benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders
  • Create a method of tapering/switching the benzodiazepine that is safe and effective


Michael Angelini, BA, BS, MA, PharmD, BCPP, RPh is a Professor of Pharmacy Practice at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts and a Psychiatric Clinical Pharmacist at Saint Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, MA. He is also a Psychopharmacology Consultant for Commonwealth Pharmacy Services at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Additionally, he has been a clinical consultant to primary care, community health centers and group homes throughout New England. He has served on faculty positions in the Addiction Fellowship Program at Boston University School of Medicine, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Angelini earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Boston University and his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at MCPHS University. Board-certified in Psychiatric Pharmacy, Dr. Angelini has published chapters in therapeutics textbooks, study guides and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Angelini is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association.

Free for MCPHS alumni, faculty and staff. For all others the fee is $12.00


ACPE logo

Release Date: 3/26/21
Expiration Date: 3/26/22
Contact Hours: 1.5
Universal Activity Number: 0026-0000-21-125-H01-P
Topic Designator: Disease State Management/Drug Therapy


MCPHS University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. MCPHS designates this educational activity for a total of 1.5 contact hours (.15 CEUs).

Requirements for Credit

In order to receive credit, the participant must review the entire presentation and complete the post-test and evaluation form. Upon completion participant credit will be reported to CPE Monitor. Transcripts may be printed from CPE Monitor.

Statement of Disclosure

MCPHS University adheres to the ACPE Standards regarding commercial support of continuing pharmacy education. It is the policy of MCPHS University that the speakers and planning committee disclose real or apparent conflicts of interest relating to the topics of the educational activity, that relevant conflicts of interest are resolved, and also that speakers will disclose any unlabeled/unapproved use of drugs or devices during their presentation.

No funding from industry provided for this event. No exhibitors will be present.
Michael Angelini, BA, BS, MA, PharmD, BCPP, RPh, has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
All CE staff members have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.