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Misuse of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in the UK

  • V. Kapil (a1), J. L. Green (a2), C. Le Lait (a2), D. M. Wood (a3) and P. I. Dargan (a3)...

Summary

Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs are commonly prescribed for insomnia and anxiety syndromes and there is increasing concern regarding their misuse. Using an internet-based questionnaire we found that of 1500 respondents 7.7% (n = 116) had misused one or more of these medications. Almost 15% of those misusing at least one of these drugs did so once weekly or more often. The main reasons reported for their use were to help sleep (66.4%), to cope with stress (37.1%) and/or to get high (31.0%). A total of 31% obtained the medications from multiple sources; healthcare professionals (55.2%) and friends/family (39.7%) most commonly. Our study can be used to inform prevention measures for their misuse.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Paul Dargan, Clinical Toxicology, 3rd Floor, Block C, South Wing Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, St Thomas' Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH, UK. Email: Paul.Dargan@gstt.nhs.uk

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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1 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Guidance on the Use of Zaleplon, Zolpidem and Zopiclone for the Short-Term Management of Insomnia. Technology Appraisal 77. NICE, 2004 (http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/11530/32845/32845.pdf)
2 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Generalised Anxiety Disorder in Adults: Management in Primary, Secondary and Community Care. National Clinical Guideline 113. NICE, 2011 (www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/13314/52667/52667.pdf).
3 Committee on Safety of Medicines. Benzodiazepines, dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Curr Probl 1988; 21: 14.
4 Jones, IR Sullivan, G. Physical dependence on zopiclone: case reports. BMJ 1998; 316: 117.
5 Lader, M. Benzodiazepines revisited–will we ever learn? Addiction 2011; 106: 2086–109.
6 Corkery, J Claridge, H Loi, B Goodair, C, Schifano, F Drug-Related Deaths in the UK: January-December 2012. International Centre for Drug Policy, 2014.
7 Kapil, V Green, JL Le Lait, C Wood, DM Dargan, PI Misuse of the GABA-Analogues Baclofen, Gabapentin and Pregabalin in the United Kingdom. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2013; 6 Nov ePub ahead of print (doi: 10.1111/bcp.12277).
8 Home Office Statistics Unit/Office for National Statistics. Drug Misuse Declared: Findings from the 2011/2012 Crime Survey for England and Wales. Home Office, 2013 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/drug-misuse-declared-findings-from-the-2011-to-2012-crime-survey-for-england-and-wales-csew-second-edition).
9 Goodwin, RD Hasin, DS. Sedative use and misuse in the United States. Addiction 2002; 97: 555–62.
10 National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Under the Counter: The Diversion and Abuse of Controlled Prescription Drugs in the U.S. National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 2005 (http://www.casacolumbia.org/addiction-research/reports/under-the-counter-diversion-abuse-controlled-perscription-drugs).
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Misuse of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in the UK

  • V. Kapil (a1), J. L. Green (a2), C. Le Lait (a2), D. M. Wood (a3) and P. I. Dargan (a3)...

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Misuse of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in the UK

  • V. Kapil (a1), J. L. Green (a2), C. Le Lait (a2), D. M. Wood (a3) and P. I. Dargan (a3)...
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