Advertisement

International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 749–752 | Cite as

Benzodiazepine prescribing guideline adherence and misuse potential in Irish minors

  • Kevin D. MurphyEmail author
  • Laura J. Sahm
  • Suzanne McCarthy
  • Stephen Byrne
Short Research Report

Abstract

Background

The Good Prescribing Practice for Clinicians guidelines were published in 2002 in Ireland to guide General Practitioners about prescribing benzodiazepines. There has been no research to-date to measure compliance by General Practitioners. Inappropriate prescribing to minors may result in increased use or misuse of benzodiazepines.

Objective

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prescribing of benzodiazepines to minors in Ireland against the Good Prescribing Practice for Clinicians guidelines.

Method

Data for medicines dispensed between January 2009 and December 2012 from the Health Intelligence Ireland database were accessed and analysed. This database contains information about government-subsidised community-pharmacy-dispensed medicines.

Results

Benzodiazepine prescribing to minors increased by 10.2 % between 2009 and 2012. Almost 15 % of patients (n = 2193) were prescribed benzodiazepines for greater than four weeks; which contravenes the guidelines. Approximately half (51.4 %) of prescribers who contravened this guideline, prescribed all their benzodiazepines in quantities of greater than one week, against the recommendations of the guidelines.

Conclusion

The consequences of prescribing against National Guidelines can result in patients who become long-term benzodiazepine users and thus place an increased burden upon the healthcare system. The reasons for non-compliance by GPs should be investigated to find solutions.

Keywords

Benzodiazepines Ireland Adolescents Children Drug utilisation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge Health Intelligence Ireland for granting permission to access their data. We also acknowledge the assistance of the Pharmaceutical Care Research Group of the School of Pharmacy in University College Cork.

Funding

This research received no external funding.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. 1.
    Longo L, Johnson B. Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines-side effects, abuse risk and alternatives. Am. Fam. Phys. 2000;61(7):2121.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Carlsten A, Waern M. Are sedatives and hypnotics associated with increased suicide risk of suicide in the elderly? BMC Geriatr. 2009;9(1):20–6.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pae C-U, Koh JS, Lee S-J, Han C, Patkar AA, Masand PS. Association of sedative–hypnotic medications with suicidality. Expert Rev Neurother. 2011;11(3):345–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Youssef N, Rich C. Does acute treatment with sedatives/hypnotics for anxiety in depressed patients affect suicide risk? A literature review. Ann. Clin. Psychiatry 2008;20(3):157–69.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Department of Health and Children. Benzodiazepines: good practice guidelines for clinicians. Dublin: Department of Health and Children; 2002. Accessed 12 May 2015. http://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/5348/1/DOHC_Benzo_committee.pdf.
  6. 6.
    Health Intelligence Unit. Health Atlas Ireland 2013. https://www.healthatlasireland.ie/.
  7. 7.
    Smith AJ, Tett SE. How do different age groups use benzodiazepines and antidepressants? Analysis of an Australian administrative database, 2003–2006. Drugs Aging. 2009;26(2):113–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Steffenak AK, Wilde-Larsson B, Nordstrom G, Skurtveit S, Hartz I. Increase in psychotropic drug use between 2006 and 2010 among adolescents in Norway: a nationwide prescription database study. J Clin Epidemiol. 2012;4:225–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    McLean CP, Asnaani A, Litz BT, Hofmann SG. Gender differences in anxiety disorders: prevalence, course of illness, comorbidity and burden of illness. J Psychiatr Res. 2011;45(8):1027–35.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Linehan C, Kerr MP, Walsh PN, Brady G, Kelleher C, Delanty N, et al. Examining the prevalence of epilepsy and delivery of epilepsy care in Ireland. Epilepsia. 2010;51(5):845–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin D. Murphy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura J. Sahm
    • 1
  • Suzanne McCarthy
    • 1
  • Stephen Byrne
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharmaceutical Care Group, School of PharmacyUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

Personalised recommendations