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Benzodiazepines Blood Test

Last updated May 20, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Mad Max

The Benzodiazepines Blood Test is used to detect benzodiazepines use and overdose.

What are other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Benzodiazepines Levels Blood Test
  • Benzos Blood Test
  • BZD Blood Test

What is the Benzodiazepines Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that depress the nervous system. They share a similar chemical structure, a benzene ring attached to a diazepine ring, which is the basis for their name
  • Benzodiazepines work by increasing the activity of the chemical messenger GABA, which decreases the excitability of neurons. These drugs are used clinically as anti-anxiety and sleep-inducing medications
  • They are also useful in treating seizures, bipolar disorder, and alcohol dependence. Common benzodiazepine drugs include lithium, Xanax, and Valium
  • Benzodiazepine levels must be kept within a certain range to prevent unwanted effects. If the levels are too high, it may result in toxicity; if the levels are too low, the drug may not be of therapeutic value
  • Benzodiazepines are also abused due to their tranquilizing and euphoric effects. They are susceptible to addiction
  • The Benzodiazepines Blood Test helps determine the levels of benzodiazepines in blood. It is used to detect benzodiazepines use and overdose. It is also used to monitor the dose of benzodiazepines during therapy

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Benzodiazepines Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Benzodiazepines Blood Test:

  • Monitoring benzodiazepines therapy
  • Drowsiness
  • Sluggishness
  • Altered mental status
  • Coma
  • Abnormal breathing

How is the Specimen Collected for the Benzodiazepines Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Benzodiazepines Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Benzodiazepines Blood Test Result?

  • A positive Benzodiazepines Blood Test value may indicate benzodiazepines use
  • A high test value may indicate benzodiazepines overdose

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, are commonly abused. They are prone to addiction and can lead to overdose. If an overdose is suspected, seek medical attention immediately

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

The following DoveMed website link is a useful resource for additional information:


Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Jan. 26, 2016
Last updated: May 20, 2019