Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Correlates of Potentially Inappropriate Prescriptions of Benzodiazepines among Older Adults: Results from the ESA Study*


ESA study data were paired with Quebec medical and pharmaceutical services records to document potentially inappropriate benzodiazepines (Bzs) prescriptions among community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older. Results indicate that 32 per cent of respondents took a mean daily dose of 6.1 mg of equivalent diazepam for, on average, 205 days per year. Almost half (48%) of Bzs users received a potentially inappropriate benzodiazepine prescription at least once during the year preceding the survey. About 23 per cent received at least one concomitant prescription of a Bz and another drug that could result in serious interaction. In addition, individuals aged 75 and older were more likely to receive Bzs for a longer period of time than those aged 65–74. Number of pharmacies used was associated with inappropriate Bzs prescriptions. Our results argue in favour of a more integrated health services system, including a regular review of older adults’ drug regimens.


Les données de l’étude ESA ont été appariées aux données d’utilisation des services médicaux et pharmaceutiques de la Régie d’assurance maladie du Québec pour documenter la prescription potentiellement non appropriée de benzodiazépines chez les personnes âgées. Nos résultats indiquent que 32% des répondants ont pris une dose journalière moyenne de 6.1 mg de l’équivalent diazépam pour une durée moyenne de 205 jours par année. Nos résultats indiquent aussi que presque la moitié, 48% des utilisateurs de benzodiazépines, ont reçu au moins une prescription de benzodiazépine potentiellement non appropriée pendant les 12 mois qui précédaient l’étude. Près de 23% des consommateurs ont reçu au moins une prescription concomitante de Bzs et d’un autre médicament pouvant résulter en une interaction sérieuse. De plus, les personnes âgées de 75 ans et plus avaient plus de chances de recevoir une Bz pour une longue période de temps que les personnes âgées de 65-74 ans. Cette étude a montré que la durée d’utilisation des benzodiazépines augmentait avec le nombre de prescripteurs et avec le nombre de pharmacies consultées pendant l’année. Le nombre de pharmacies utilisées a aussi été associé avec la présence d’une ordonnance non appropriée de benzodiazépines pendant la même année. Nos résultats plaident en faveur d’un système de santé plus intégré, incluant une révision régulière des médicaments pris par les personnes âgées.

Corresponding author
Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Michel Préville, Ph.D. Research Centre, Hôpital Charles LeMoyne 3120, boul. Taschereau Greenfield Park, QC J4V 2H1
Hide All

This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (200403MOP) and by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ-Conseil du medicament: 051719). The authors thank members of the Scientific Committee of the ESA Study (Étude sur la Santé des Aïnés) for the significant scientific advice they provided, and Bernadette Wilson, who provided editing comments.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R.R. Aparasu , J.R. Mort , & H. Brandt (2003). Psychotropic prescription use by community-dwelling elderly in the United States. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 51(5), 671677.

E.J. Bierman , H.C. Comijs , C.M. Gundy , C. Sonnenberg , C. Jonker , & A.T. Beekman (2007). The effect of chronic benzodiazepine use on cognitive functioning in older persons: Good, bad or indifferent? International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(12), 11941200.

M. Egan , Y. Moride , C. Wolfson , & J. Monette (2000). Long-term continuous use of benzodiazepines by older adults in Quebec: Prevalence, incidence and risk factors. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 48(7), 811816.

D.M. Fick , J.L. Waller , J.R. Maclean , R. Vanden Heuvel , J.G. Tadlock , M. Gottlieb , . (2001). Potentially inappropriate medication use in a medicare managed care population: Association with higher costs and utilization. Journal of Managing Care Pharmacology, 7(5), 407413.

P.P. Gleason , R. Schulz , N.L. Smith , J.T. Newsom , P.D. Kroboth , F.J. Kroboth , . (1998). Correlates and prevalence of benzodiazepine use in community-dwelling elderly. Journal of General International Medicine, 13(4), 243250.

R.E. Grymonpre , P.A. Mitenko , D.S. Sitar , F.Y. Aoki , & P.R. Montgomery (1988). Drug-associated hospital admissions in older medical patients. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 36(12), 10921098.

J.T. Hanlon , K.E. Schmader , C. Boult , M.B. Artz , C.R. Gross , G.G. Fillenbaum , . (2002). Use of inappropriate prescription drugs by older people. Journal of American Geriatrics Society, 50(1), 2634.

H.W. Keri Yang , L. Simoni-Wastila , I.H. Zuckerman , & B. Stuart (2008). Benzodiazepine use and expenditures for medicare beneficiaries and the implications of medicare part D exclusions. Psychiatric Services, 59(4), 384391.

F. Landi , G. Onder , M. Cesari , C. Barillaro , A. Russo , R. Bernabei , . (2005). Psychotropic medications and risk for falls among community-dwelling frail older people: An observational study. Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60(5), 622626.

H.J. Luijendijk , H. Tiemeier , A. Hofman , J. Heeringa , & B.H. Stricker (2008). Determinants of chronic benzodiazepine use in the elderly: A longitudinal study. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 65(4), 593599.

K. Morgan , H. Dallosso , S. Ebrahim , T. Arie , & P.H. Fentem (1988). Prevalence, frequency, and duration of hypnotic drug use among the elderly living at home. British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 296(6622), 601602.

A.R. Roberts (2002). Assessment, crisis intervention, and trauma treatment: The integrative ACT intervention model. Brief Treatment in Crisis Intervention, 2(1), 121.

M. Swartz , R. Landerman , L.K. George , M.L. Melville , D. Blazer , & K. Smith (1991). Benzodiazepine anti-anxiety agents: Prevalence and correlates of use in a southern community. American Journal of Public Health, 81(5), 592596.

P. Voyer , P. Cappeliez , G. Pérodeau , & M. Préville (2005). Mental health for older adults and benzodiazpine use. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 22(4), 213229.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 14 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 135 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.