Patterns of Benzodiazepine Prescription Among Older Adults

BMJ Open
09 Jan, 2020 ,

Xhyljeta Luta et al design a retrospective analysis of claims data and carried in nine cantons in order to investigate the prevalence and determinants of benzodiazepine prescription among older adults in Switzerland, and analyze correlation with hospitalization and costs. A total of 69, 005 people were involved. Nearly 20% took part and at least one benzodiazepine prescription in 2017. Prescription prevalence increased with age and was greater in women contrasted with men. A study suggests that the proportion of older adults with at least one benzodiazepine prescription was high, as determined in the data of one large Swiss health insurance company. These participants were more likely to be hospitalized for trauma and have greater healthcare expenditures. Significant variations in prescription prevalence across cantons were noted, implying potential overuse.

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Abstract

Objective This study aimed to examine the prevalence and determinants of benzodiazepine prescription among older adults in Switzerland, and analyse association with hospitalisation and costs.

Design Retrospective analysis of claims data.

Setting The study was conducted in nine cantons in Switzerland.

Participants Older adults aged 65 years and older enrolled with a large Swiss health insurance company participated in the study.

Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary outcome was prevalence of benzodiazepine prescription. The secondary outcomes were (1) determinants of any benzodiazepine prescription; (2) the association between any prescription and the probability of hospitalisation for trauma and (3) the association between any prescription and total healthcare expenditures.

Results Overall, 69 005 individuals were included in the study. Approximately 20% of participants had at least one benzodiazepine prescription in 2017. Prescription prevalence increased with age (65–69: 15.9%; 70–74: 18.4%; 75–80: 22.5%; >80: 25.8%) and was higher in women (25.1%) compared with men (14.6%). Enrollees with the highest deductible of Swiss Francs (CHF) 2500 were 70% less likely to receive a prescription than enrollees with the lowest deductible of CHF 300 (adjusted OR=0.29, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.35).

Individuals with at least one prescription had a higher probability of hospitalisation for trauma (OR=1.31, 95% CI 1. 20 to 1.1.44), and 70% higher health care expenditures (β=0.72, 95% CI 0. 67 to 0.77). Enrollees in canton Valais were three times more likely to receive a prescription compared to enrollees from canton Aargau (OR=2.84, 95% 2.51 to 3.21).

Conclusions The proportion of older adults with at least one benzodiazepine prescription is high, as found in the data of one large Swiss health insurance company. These enrollees are more likely to be hospitalised for trauma and have higher healthcare expenditures. Important differences in prescription prevalence across cantons were observed, suggesting potential overuse. Further research is needed to understand the drivers of variation, prescription patterns across providers, and trends over time.