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Rev Epidemiol Sante Publique. 2003 Jun;51(3):317-26.

[Benzodiazepine use in the elderly: the EVA Study].

[Article in French]

Author information

1
Département de Pharmacologie Clinique, Université Victor-Segalen-Bordeaux 2, 146, rue Léo-Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux Cedex. nathalie.lechevallier@pharmaco.u-bordeaux2.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The objectives of this study were to describe the use of benzodiazepines in the elderly and to identify socio-demographic and medical factors associated with this use.

METHODS:

Data on the use of sedative and sleeping drugs were collected from a self-reported questionnaire, in a sample of 1265 elderly subjects (aged 60 to 70 years) interviewed at the first follow-up examination of the EVA Study (Epidemiology of Vascular Aging Study).

RESULTS:

Use of sedative or sleeping drugs was reported by 28.7% of the participants and use of benzodiazepines by 23%. Most of the benzodiazepines used (71%) had anxiolytic indications, 48% were long-acting compounds (elimination half-life>=20 h.). Among benzodiazepine users, 71% reported using benzodiazepines daily and 77% reported they had been taking benzodiazepines for at least 2 years. Nearly two third of the benzodiazepine users reported taking their medications as prescribed. When they were not compliant, they took benzodiazepines less often and/or at slighter doses than prescribed. Use of benzodiazepines was associated with symptoms of depression or anxiety (women: odds-ratio=2.6 [1.7-4.1]; men: odds-ratio=4.4 [2.4-7.8]) and with regular use of at least three non-psychotropic drugs (women: odds-ratio=2.0 [1.4-2.9]; men: odds-ratio=1.8 [1.1-3.1]). Women with a high educational level or with moderate alcohol consumption were less likely to take benzodiazepines; these associations were not found in men.

CONCLUSIONS:

The present study shows that benzodiazepines are the sedative and sleeping drugs most widely used by the elderly. Nearly three quarters of benzodiazepine users were chronic users.

PMID:
13130212
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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