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Can J Psychiatry. 1996 Sep;41(7):457-64.

Psychotropic medication and insomnia complaints in two epidemiological studies.

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Centre de recherche Philippe Pinel de Montréal, Quebec.



This study compared prescribed psychotropic medication patterns for reported sleep disorders in French and Quebec samples.


The first study was undertaken in France (N = 5622) and the second in the metropolitan area of Montreal (N = 1722). Lay interviewers used a specialized knowledge-based system for the purpose of evaluating sleep disorders by telephone.


Results showed similar prevalence of insomnia complaints in both samples (20.1% and 17.8%, respectively). A higher level of psychotropic consumption was found in France (11.7% [95% confidence interval (CI), 10.9 to 12.5]) compared with Quebec, however, where consumption was less than half the French rate (5.5% [95% CI, 4.4 to 6.6]). Both studies identified females and the elderly as the primary consumers of these drugs. For approximately two-thirds of both samples, sleep-promoting medications were prescribed for a year or longer, revealing a chronicity of the consumption. Approximately 4 out of 5 prescriptions for sleeping medications were ordered by general practitioners in both samples.


These findings clearly show a higher prevalence of psychotropic drug use in the French compared with the Quebec population. The patterns of consumption and prescription, however, are quite similar in both studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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