Potentially inappropriate use of benzodiazepines and z-drugs in the older population—analysis of associations between long-term use and patient-related factors

  • Mokhar A
  • Tillenburg N
  • Dirmaier J
  • et al.
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Abstract

© 2018 Mokhar et al. Introduction. The long-term use of benzodiazepines (BZD) and z-drugs in older populations is associated with a variety of sociodemographic and health-related factors. Recent studies reported that long-termBZDand z-drugs use is associated with increased age, female sex, and severe negative psychological (e.g., depression) and somatic (e.g., chronic disease) factors. The current study explores the sociodemographic and healthrelated factors associated with long-term BZD and z-drugs use in the elderly. Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional survey among randomly selected patients of one health insurance plan ("AOK North-West") with BZD and z-drugs prescriptions in the past 12 months. The sample was stratified by appropriate German prescription guidelines (yes vs. no) and age (50-65 vs. > 65 years). To examine the association of selected sociodemographic and psychological variables (e.g., sex, employment status, quality of life, depression) with long-term use, a binary logistic regression analysis was conducted. Results. In total, data from 340 patients were analyzed. The mean age was 72.1 (SD D 14:5) years, and the most commonly used substances were zopiclon (38.1%), oxazepam (18.1%), and lorazepam (13.8%). The mean defined daily dose (DDD) was 0.73 (SDD0:47). Insomnia was the main reason for prescribing BZD and z-drugs. The long-term use of BZD and z-drugs was significantly associated with unemployment (OR D 2:9, 95% CI [1.2-7.1]) and generally problematic medication use (OR D 0:5, 95% CI [0.2-1.0]). Discussion. Unemployment status and problematic medication use had a significant association with the patient-reported, long-term use of BZD and z-drugs. Divergent prescription patterns might suggest problematic patterns of BZD and z-drugs use. The causal connection between the identified factors and problematic BZD and zdrugs prescription is not discussed in this paper. Nevertheless, employment status and possible evidence of general problematic drug use may be a warning signal to the prescribers of BZD and z-drugs.

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Mokhar, A., Tillenburg, N., Dirmaier, J., Kuhn, S., Härter, M., & Verthein, U. (2018). Potentially inappropriate use of benzodiazepines and z-drugs in the older population—analysis of associations between long-term use and patient-related factors. PeerJ, 6, e4614. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4614

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