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Study, Sep/22:Need for Benzodiazepine Deprescribing in the COVID-19 Pandemic


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The full title of this Croatian study is "A Need for Benzodiazepine Deprescribing in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cohort Study".






The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on patients' mental health. The aim of this study was to explore whether the pandemic influenced the use and prescription of benzodiazepines and increased the need for community pharmacist involvement in counselling on deprescribing. Electronic prescription-related data from one pharmacy in Croatia were retrospectively collected for the COVID-19 period (April 2020 to March 2021) and compared with pre-COVID-19 (April 2019 to March 2020) data. Data were collected for patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders who filled out more than one prescription for benzodiazepines, and included age, sex, number of medicines, benzodiazepines, and comorbidities. A total of 1290 benzodiazepine users were identified; of these, 32.87% started using benzodiazepines during the COVID-19 period, while 35.2% continued with benzodiazepine use. More than half of all benzodiazepine users were identified as potential deprescribing candidates (dispensed more than three prescriptions). Women, older patients, multimorbid individuals, and patients with polypharmacy were more likely to use benzodiazepines for a prolonged period. The results show a negative trend of benzodiazepine usage among community-dwelling patients during the pandemic. Community pharmacists can identify potential candidates for deprescribing and initiate a process that ensures more rational use of benzodiazepines and increases the safety of treatment.


Full Study:



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