Prevalence, frequency, and duration of hypnotic drug use among the elderly living at home.

Department of Health Care of the Elderly, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre.
British medical journal (Clinical research ed.) 03/1988; 296(6622):601-2. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.296.6622.601
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Details of consumption of hypnotic drugs derived from a nationally representative sample of elderly people were analysed in terms of the prevalence, duration, and likely frequency of use. Of 1020 randomly selected subjects aged 65 and over 16% (166) reported using (mainly benzodiazepine) hypnotic drugs, and of these 89% reported having taken such a drug the night before the interview. Most of these users (73%) had been taking hypnotic drugs for more than one year, with 25% reporting drug use for more than 10 years. These results suggest that for most elderly users of hypnotic drugs, patterns of consumption encourage the development of cumulative effects and benzodiazepine dependence.

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