General practitioners' preferences for managing insomnia and opportunities for reducing hypnotic prescribing

Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice (Impact Factor: 1.08). 06/2010; 16(4):731 - 737. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2009.01186.x


Rationale, aims and objectives Insomnia and sleep problems are common with many sufferers seeking medical help from general practitioners (GPs) whose clinical response is limited, often involving prescription of hypnotic drugs. The case for improving the quality of care for patients with insomnia is compelling but there is little evidence about how better care could be achieved in a primary care setting. The aim of this study was to investigate GPs' management preferences for sleep problems and their awareness and perception of opportunities for improving care as well as reducing the use of benzodiazepines and Z drugs.
Methods Cross-sectional survey of GPs using a self-administered postal questionnaire in 2005 to all GPs in West Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust Lincolnshire, UK.
Results A total of 84 of 107 (78.5%) questionnaires sent to GP principals were returned after one reminder. Respondents favoured Z drugs over benzodiazepines for the majority of indications. Respondent attitudes to benzodiazepines and Z drugs were generally negative whereas they were positive towards initiatives to reduce hypnotic prescribing through personal guidance, awareness-raising strategies and organizational interventions.
Conclusions GPs were negative in attitude towards hypnotics and positive towards reducing prescribing for sleep problems. They need to develop resources and better strategies for assessment and non-pharmacological management of patients presenting with insomnia for the first time as well as those on long-term hypnotics. The feasibility and effectiveness of psychosocial interventions tailored to patient and service needs in primary care setting should be evaluated systematically seeking to understand potential clinical benefits as well as potential undesirable effects of service changes.

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    • "One such obstacle relates to physicianassumed patient preferences. While physicians do understand the merits of reducing hypnotic prescriptions they assume that a vast majority of patients would prefer a hypnotic " quick fix " (Siriwardena et al., 2010). This contributes to an underlying pressure for physicians to continuously prescribe these medications (Dyas et al., 2010; Mah & Upshur, 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Insomnia is a common sleep disorder associated with substantial direct and indirect costs, yet there is a strong propensity among patients to self-medicate which often delays professional help. Understanding the process which underpins the initiation, engagement and adherence to insomnia treatment(s) is a vital step for understanding this phenomenon. The current paper explores how the patient perspective has been conceptualized in the research literature and its implications for insomnia treatment and health care delivery. A literature search was conducted using Embase, Medline and PsycINFO databases. Articles have been thematically organized into patient correlates of health behaviors, patient experiences and treatment attitudes. Deferral of professional help among insomnia patients is partially related to barriers embedded in the health care system and patient health beliefs.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Behavioral Sleep Medicine
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    • "Some patients also prefer non-medication treatments [12,16,17]. Providers often have negative attitudes towards hypnotics as well, and prefer to reduce their prescriptions of such medications [18]. These advantages of CBT-I suggest that it might be a viable option for the treatment of insomnia [12,17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Insomnia is common in primary care, can persist after co-morbid conditions are treated, and may require long-term medication treatment. A potential alternative to medications is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). Methods In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, we systematically reviewed MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register, and PsycINFO for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing CBT-I to any prescription or non-prescription medication in patients with primary or comorbid insomnia. Trials had to report quantitative sleep outcomes (e.g. sleep latency) in order to be included in the analysis. Extracted results included quantitative sleep outcomes, as well as psychological outcomes and adverse effects when available. Evidence base quality was assessed using GRADE. Results Five studies met criteria for analysis. Low to moderate grade evidence suggests CBT-I has superior effectiveness to benzodiazepine and non-benzodiazepine drugs in the long term, while very low grade evidence suggests benzodiazepines are more effective in the short term. Very low grade evidence supports use of CBT-I to improve psychological outcomes. Conclusions CBT-I is effective for treating insomnia when compared with medications, and its effects may be more durable than medications. Primary care providers should consider CBT-I as a first-line treatment option for insomnia.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · BMC Family Practice
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    • "The common treatment of insomnia complaints, that is, treating insomnia with hypnotics, such as benzodiazepines , is under serious discussion among general practitioners (Siriwardena et al. 2010). Benzodiazepines are known to have major disadvantages, such as dependency, decreasing efficiency, and safety-threatening daytime sedation (Kripke 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study explored the applicability of two brief evidence-based interventions to improve sleep quality in inpatient psychiatry. The study involved three comparable admission wards of a psychiatric hospital. Stimulus control was introduced at the first ward, and music-assisted relaxation at the second. At the third ward, no intervention was introduced. A mixed-method study was employed. We found that nurses share the opinion that both interventions can be applied, but patients are hard to motivate. They perceived the lack of available time, busyness at the ward, and the lack of cooperation of patients as the main obstacles. The perception of a successful implementation is correlated with the perception of gained attention for sleep problems, the perception of increased care options, and the impression of effectiveness. Qualitative data showed that the effectiveness of the interventions was compromised by operational issues, commitment issues, adaptation to contextual limitations, and conflicting individual beliefs. We concluded that music-assisted relaxation is applicable in inpatient psychiatry. The application of stimulus control met with insurmountable operational issues. The nursing team is a very important factor for the implementation of evidence-based interventions at ward level. The lack of a shared urge for change and responsibility for continuity are important factors contributing to failure.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · International journal of mental health nursing
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