Benzodiazepine prescribing in elderly Australian general practice patients

Alice Windle, Elizabeth Elliot, Katherine Duszynski, Vivienne Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The use of benzodiazepines by elderly people is of limited therapeutic
benefit and increases the risk of adverse events. This study aimed to examine the extent to which benzodiazepines are prescribed for elderly Australians.
Methods: Data for 3,970 individuals aged 65 years or more were extracted from a general practice database. Benzodiazepine prescriptions for 2002 were reviewed.
Results: Overall, 16% (95% CI 11-21%) of elderly patients had at least one
benzodiazepine prescription. Females were almost twice as likely as males to
be prescribed a benzodiazepine and prescription prevalence increased with age.
Conclusions: Despite risks, benzodiazepines are widely prescribed for the elderly. Limited availability and cost of alternative therapies and pressures on the primary care system in Australia may contribute to their continued overuse.
Implications: The prescribing of benzodiazepines for elderly Australians
needs to be reduced by better managing sleep and anxiety problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-381
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


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