1 in 4 older patients still on benzos after a year

Start with 'end in mind' when prescribing benzos, say study authors

A quarter of older patients prescribed benzodiazepines are still using the drug a year later, according to a US study, prompting calls for GPs to help wean patients off the drug.

The evaluation of more than 500 patients prescribed benzodiazepines by GPs or non-psychiatrists found one in four still had a current or recent prescription for the sedative a year later, typically nearly eight months’ supply.

A large initial prescription was a big risk factor for chronic use, with every additional 10 days' worth of medication nearly doubling the risk for long-term use over the following year, the study authors reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.

They recommended doctors start with the “end in mind” by beginning with a short-duration prescription, talking with patients about re-evaluating their symptoms, and tapering them off the sedative.

"We also need to educate providers about effective non