The potential superiority of one benzodiazepine over another in the treatment of an elderly patient is not clearly established. The elderly are sensitive to all benzodiazepines and the spectrum of activity for currently available benzodiazepines gives little reason to choose between them. Certain benzodiazepines such as oxazepam and lorazepam are less likely to have pharmacokinetic alterations with age, with disease, and with concomitant administration of other drugs. They also tend to have shorter half-lives and do not have active metabolites. For this reason they have important theoretical advantages over the other drugs in treating elderly patients-particularly those at high risk for toxicity. However, even with these drugs, considerable interindividual variation in response remains and there is as yet no study effectively demonstrating the superiority of oxazepam or lorazepam over their more extensively metabolized counterparts in the treatment of the elderly.