Direct Patient Education Helps Limit Benzodiazepine Use Among Elders — Physician’s First Watch
Direct Patient Education Helps Limit Benzodiazepine Use Among Elders
By Amy Orciari Herman
Older adults often choose to stop using benzodiazepines when they're educated about the drugs' risks and offered a tapering schedule, a JAMA Internal Medicine study finds.
Some 30 Montreal-based pharmacies were randomized to provide a patient-education intervention to older, long-term benzodiazepine users or to provide usual care. In the intervention group, patients were mailed a booklet that included information on benzodiazepines' risks, suggestions for alternative treatments for insomnia or anxiety, tapering recommendations, and instructions to talk with their physician or pharmacist about discontinuing use.
Roughly 300 adults aged 65 and older were included in the study. At 6 months, nearly two thirds of intervention patients had initiated discussions about benzodiazepine discontinuation with their physician or pharmacist. In addition, significantly more intervention than usual-care patients had discontinued using the drugs (27% vs. 5%), with four people needing to receive the intervention for one person to discontinue benzodiazepine use.