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Fam Pract. 2006 Feb;23(1):60-4. Epub 2005 Dec 6.

Effects of educational outreach visits on prescribing of benzodiazepines and antipsychotic drugs to elderly patients in primary health care in southern Sweden.

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Department of Medicine, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.



Different methods have previously been tested to affect GPs' prescribing habits. Attention has been drawn to benzodiazepines and antipsychotic drugs that are associated with several adverse effects in the elderly.


To evaluate if educational outreach visits to GP practices can affect the prescribing of benzodiazepines and antipsychotic drugs to the elderly and to evaluate the opinions of the participating GPs on such education.


In the county of Skåne, Sweden, 41 GP practices were invited to participate in educational outreach visits. Fifteen GP practices accepted the invitation. Practices were randomised to active (8 practices, 23 physicians) and control group (7 practices, 31 physicians). After the educational outreach visits prescribing of benzodiazepines and antipsychotic drugs to patients 65 years or older were measured for 1 year. The control group participated in the education after the study period. The opinions of GPs on educational outreach visits were evaluated.


One year after the educational outreach visits there were significant decreases in the active group compared to control group in the prescribing of medium- and long-acting benzodiazepines and total benzodiazepines but not so for antipsychotic drugs.


Educational outreach visits can be effective in modifying GPs' prescribing habits. We have shown this to be so for prescribing of benzodiazepines to elderly patients in primary health care. Educational outreach visits are also very well appreciated by participating GPs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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