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Benzodiazepine and hypnotic prescribing in an acute adult psychiatric in-patient unit

  • Brian P. Hallahan (a1), Ivan T. Murray (a2) and Colm McDonald (a3)
Abstract
Aims and Method

We examined the prescribing practices concerning benzodiazepine and hypnotic medications at a university teaching hospital. Retrospective data from 74 consecutively admitted in-patients were analysed.

Results

Benzodiazepines were prescribed to 51% of individuals on a routine basis and to 66% of individuals on an ‘as required’ basis. An indication was documented for 70% of individuals prescribed benzodiazepines routinely and for 29% of patients prescribed benzodiazepines ‘as required’. Hypnotic agents were administered to 24% of patients on a routine basis and 23% of individuals on an ‘as required’ basis. An indication was documented for 39% of patients prescribed hypnotic agents routinely and 12% of patients prescribed hypnotics ‘as required’.

Clinical Implications

Benzodiazepine and hypnotic agents are frequently prescribed without any clear reason provided in the patients' medical notes or prescription card.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Hallahan, B., Murray, I. & McDonald, C. (2007) Improving prescription quality in an in-patient mental health unit. Psychiatric Bulletin, 31, 435.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2004) Management of Anxiety (Panic Disorder, With or Without Agoraphobia, and Generalised Anxiety Disorder) in Adults in Primary, Secondary and Community Care. NICE.
Schweizer, E. & Rickels, K. (1998) Benzodiazepine dependence and withdrawal: a review of the syndromes and its clinical management. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica Supplementum, 393, 95101.
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Wheeler, A., Kairuz, T., Sheridan, J. & McPhee, E. (2007) Sedative-hypnotic treatment in an acute psychiatric setting: comparison with best practice guidance. Pharmacy World and Science, 29, 603610.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Benzodiazepine and hypnotic prescribing in an acute adult psychiatric in-patient unit

  • Brian P. Hallahan (a1), Ivan T. Murray (a2) and Colm McDonald (a3)
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