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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Jul;67(7):723-9. doi: 10.1007/s00228-010-0983-2. Epub 2011 Jan 29.

The use of hypnosedative drugs in a university hospital: has anything changed in 10 years?

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Department of Pharmacy, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent, Belgium.



Our goal was to investigate the use of hypnosedatives (HSs) before and during hospitalization, explore the relationship between their use and various demographic and clinical variables, and compare the results with data from a similar 2000 study with particular interest in adherence to hospital formulary guidelines.


A cross-sectional observational survey of 326 hospitalized patients recruited from ten wards of the Ghent University Hospital, Gent, Belgium, with a patient interview and by evaluating medical and nursing files.


In 30.7% of patients, the use of a HS before admission was reported. According to the patient interview, 33.1% used a HS during hospitalization. However, according to medical and nursing files, use of HSs in the hospital was 10% higher (43.3%). In 19.4% of patients who took HSs before admission, their use was discontinued in the hospital. In 15.6% of patients who took no HS before admission, a HS was started in the hospital, according to the formulary guidelines (data from files). There was a positive correlation between HS use in the hospital and older age, longer hospitalization, not coming from home, higher number of HSs taken before hospitalization, sleeping problems emerging during hospitalization, and central nervous system (CNS) disorders. In comparison with 2000, we registered a slight decrease in HS use during hospitalization and a decrease in the number of newly started patients.


The prevalence of HS use in our university hospital is high, mostly as a result of continuation of HSs started before admission, as there seems to be no general policy of active cessation. Compared with the survey performed 10 years ago, fewer hospitalized patients are newly started on HSs, and when this is the case, the formulary guidelines are followed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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