Comparing patterns of long-term benzodiazepine use between a Dutch and a Swedish community.

Department of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy, Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.9). 12/2002; 12(1):49-53. DOI: 10.1002/pds.784
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There is much concern about the widespread long-term use of benzodiazepines. Utilisation data can give a foundation for interventions for appropriate use.
To compare long-term usage patterns of benzodiazepines in a Dutch and a Swedish community in different periods.
Eight-year follow-up patterns of use were investigated with respect to the characteristics of those who continued use over the whole follow-up period. In the Dutch community of 13,500, the data of a cohort of 1358 benzodiazepine users were analysed during the years 1984-1991; in the Swedish community of 20,000 people, a cohort of 2038 benzodiazepine users was followed from 1976.
At the end of the follow-up period, 32.9% of the Dutch cohort and 33% of the Swedish cohort had continued use of benzodiazepines. The two overall survival curves showed similar patterns. Stratification for age, gender, previous versus initial use and heavy versus non-heavy use showed comparable proportions of patients continuing benzodiazepine use over time.
The parallels in the results of two cohorts in different countries and different periods are striking and give support to the idea to stimulate interventions to reduce long-term benzodiazepine use.

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