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Concurrent benzodiazepine use in older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia

  • Xiao-Mei Zhong (a1) (a2), Fei Wang (a2), Qinge Zhang (a3), Gabor S. Ungvari (a4) (a5), Chee H. Ng (a6), Helen F. K. Chiu (a7), Tian-Mei Si (a8), Kang Sim (a9), Ajit Avasthi (a10), Sandeep Grover (a10), Mian-Yoon Chong (a11), Kok-Yoon Chee (a12), Shigenobu Kanba (a13), Min-Soo Lee (a14), Shu-Yu Yang (a15), Pichet Udomratn (a16), Roy A. Kallivayalil (a17), Andi J. Tanra (a18), Margarita M. Maramis (a19), Winston W. Shen (a20), Norman Sartorius (a21), Rathi Mahendran (a22), Chay-Hoon Tan (a23), Naotaka Shinfuku (a24) and Yu-Tao Xiang (a2)...



Little is known about the combined use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in older psychiatric patients. This study examined the prescription pattern of concurrent benzodiazepines in older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia, and explored its demographic and clinical correlates.


The data of 955 older adults with any type of psychiatric disorders were extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns for Antidepressants (REAP-AD) project. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. Both univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.


The proportion of benzodiazepine and antidepressant combination in this cohort was 44.3%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that higher doses of antidepressants, younger age (<65 years), inpatients, public hospital, major comorbid medical conditions, antidepressant types, and country/territory were significantly associated with more frequent co-prescription of benzodiazepines and antidepressants.


Nearly, half of the older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia are prescribed concurrent benzodiazepines. Given the potentially adverse effects of benzodiazepines, the rationale of benzodiazepines and antidepressants co-prescription needs to be revisited.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr Yu-Tao Xiang, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau, Avenida da Universidade, Taipa, Macau SAR, 3/F, Building E12, China. Phone: +853-8822-4223; Fax: +853-2288-2314. Email:


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These authors contributed equally to this work.



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