Initial benzodiazepine use and improved health-related quality of life
The health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of initial benzodiazepine users was measured over time. Furthermore, benzodiazepineusage characteristics as determinants of change in mental and physical health status of the benzodiazepine users were examined.
In the only pharmacy of a Dutch community of 13500 and during four months from November 1994, all patients with a benzodiazepine prescription and no history of benzodiazepine use over a period of 12 months before inclusion, were invited to participate. A total of 106 initial benzodiazepine users were matched for age and gender. In a six-month follow-up study, HRQOL was measured with the RAND-36. Consequently, in a nested case control design, determinants of change in mental and physical functioning over the six-month period were analysed using the Mental Component Summary and the Physical Component Summary.
At baseline, initial benzodiazepine users showed a lower HRQOL as compared to reference subjects. After six-month follow-up, enzodiazepine users presented an absolute increase in HRQOL, while the reference subjects maintained a stable HRQOL. Diazepam and the male gender were associated with an increase in physical functioning over time. Younger age, a lower daily dose (DDD < 0.75) and a period of use between 16 and 60 days were associated with better mental functioning over time.
This study is one of the first to associate improvement in HRQOL over time of starting benzodiazepine users with specific usage characteristics, such as limited duration of use and a low dosage.
KeywordsBenzodiazepines Health status Quality of life Rand-36 Summary measures The Netherlands
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