Programme no. 143-OP
Reducing Prescriptions of Long-Acting Benzodiazepine Drugs in
Denmark: A Descriptive Analysis of Nationwide Prescriptions
during a 10-Year Period
Sophie Isabel Eriksen*1
1Research Unit of General Practice,University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark,Copenhagen,Denmark
* = Presenting author
Objectives: This study aimed to analyse the prescribing of long-acting BZD (half-life >10 hr), compared to short-acting BZD in Denmark during a 10-year period.
Background: Prolonged consumption of benzodiazepine drugs (BZD) and benzodiazepine receptor agonists (zolpidem, zaleplon,
zopiclone; altogether Z drugs) is related to potential physiological and psychological dependence along with other adverse
Results: The prescribing of long-acting BZD was reduced from 25.8 defined daily
doses (DDD)/1000 inhabitants/day in 2003 to 8.8 DDD/1000 inhabitants/day in 2013, a relative reduction of 66%. The prescribing of short-acting BZD was reduced from 26.1 DDD/1000 inhabitants/day in 2003 to 16.4 DDD/1000 inhabitants/day in 2013,
a relative reduction of 37%.
Material/Methods: Descriptive analysis of total sales data from the Danish Register of Medicinal Product Statistics,
to individuals in the primary healthcare sector, of all BZD and Z drugs in the period of 2003–2013. Prescription data derive from
all community and hospital pharmacies in Denmark.
Conclusion: The observed reduction in BZD use was correlated to the introduction of new national guidelines on prescription of addictive drugs, but this study was not designed to detect a causal relationship. The prescribing of long-acting BZD decreased
considerably more than the prescribing of short-acting BZD in the 10-year period.
Points for discussion:
- Have other Nordic contries seen the same decline in the use of benzodiazepines?
- Is it correlated with the introduction of national guidelines or other interventions?