Programme no. 247-OP
Public Health
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and prescription of anxiolytic drugs in Danish general practice
Lise Plovgaard*1, Anders Munck2, Trine Neumann Hansen3, Anders Halling4, Pia Therkildsen5, Jesper Lykkegaard*6
1Audit Project Odense, Research Unit of General Practice,University of Southern Denmark,DK-5000 Odense C,Denmark, 2Audit Project Odense, Research Unit of General Practice,University of Southern Denmark,DK-5000 Odense C,Denmark, 3Audit Project Odense, Research Unit of General Practice,University of Southern Denmark,DK-5000 Odense C,Denmark, 4Research Unit of General Practice,University of Southern Denmark,DK-5000 Odense C,Denmark, 5Audit Project Odense, Research Unit of General Practice,University of Southern Denmark,DK-5000 Odense C,Denmark, 6Audit Project Odense, Research Unit of General Practice,University of Southern Denmark,DK-5000 Odense C,Denmark
* = Presenting author
Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyse the association between prescription of anxiolytics and a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for elderly patients in general practice.
Background: Prolonged use of anxiolytic drugs should generally be avoided, especially in the elderly.
Results: Twenty-one clinics recorded data on 2,213 patients. A total of 19.2% of the patients was prescribed with an anxiolytic drug in the year before the study. Adjusted for gender and age, the study found an association between having a COPD diagnosis and being prescribed with an anxiolytic drug (OR: 1.46, CI 1.01-2.10). Furthermore, prescription of an anxiolytic drug was closely associated with female gender, feeling lonely, and having had a high number of other prescribed drugs. The association with COPD was neutralised when adjusting for the patients’ number of different drug prescriptions in the past year.
Material/Methods: All GP clinics in Southern Denmark were invited to a quality improvement initiative targeted at elderly patients in general practice. A 10-items computer-based pop-up questionnaire on health and social conditions was filled in for each patient above 74 years of age who attended the clinics during a 15 weeks period from the 20th January 2014. Each patient’s drug prescriptions, dates of consultations, home-visits, and diagnosis codes were recorded automatically from the GPs’ computer systems. A multivariable logistic regression was applied.
Conclusion: Opposed to guideline recommendations Danish GPs prescribe anxiolytics to a high proportion of elderly patients. The study indicates an association between COPD and prescription with anxiolytics.
Points for discussion: Should elderly patients and patients with COPD in particular be prescribed with anxiolytic drugs?

When do GPs prescribe anxiolytic drugs to elderly patients?