New Study on Benzodiazepine Use in Elderly

New Study on Benzodiazepine Use in Elderly

Significant attention is currently being paid to the staggering challenges associated with opioid overuse and misuse, but similar concerns also exist with other drug dependencies, including dependence to benzodiazepines.  A new study published September 10 illustrates concerns regarding overuse of benzodiazepines in the elderly, and the impact of overuse on patient health.

As reported in and elsewhere, the study of approximately 600 adults (mean age 78 years) showed that nearly one in four prescribed benzodiazepines used them for at least a year, despite clear guidelines warning against chronic use in older patients. 

The investigators identified a higher risk of treatment chronicity associated with race (white patients four times more likely to be on treatment long-term than patients of color), and the number of doses dispensed in the initial prescription fill (for every 10 days of therapy prescribed, the risk of chronic use over the following year nearly doubled).

The study clearly describes the need for initiating therapy with short-term goals, discussing treatment goals with patients and the importance of frequently re-evaluating the need for continued therapy.

Additional information about several benzodiazepines, including clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam and temazepam can be found in the Top 300 Pharmacy Drug Cards.  If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to the Top 300 Pharmacy Drug Cards.  If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.

For more information:

Gerlach LB, et al.  Factors associated with long-term benzodiazepine use among older adults.  JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 10, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.2413

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Click here to access reporting on this study on Medscape.

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