Despite the well-documented side-effects and disadvantages of long-term use, the prevalence of benzodiazepine use stays high.
The purpose of this intervention was to inventarise the number of patients in our practice who take benzodiazepines and to reduce their consumption.
Therefore we registered all the patients who came to renew their prescription of their benzodiazepine during six months.
Afterwards a letter and an information folder were sent to all those patients between 25 and 75 year, with chronic use of benzodiazepine in the practice who took it as a hypnoticum and who didn’t met the exclusion criteria, to motivate them to reduce their benzodiazepine consumption. 65 Patients were selected in this way.
Three months after sending this letter, we called the patients who didn’t answer the letter by telephone to invite them for a consult in practice to talk about this problem and to offer them a discontinuation program if they didn’t succeed to reduce their dose by themselves.
The main finding was that a minimal intervention in the form of a letter was effective for reducing benzodiazepine consumption. 32,3% of the patients reduced their consumption ( 16,9% stopped completely )More-intensive treatment afterwards with a discontinuation program in patients who couldn’t stop or reduce their benzodiazepine use gave an additional effect of 32,2% ( 6% stopped, 26,2% reduced their consumption)
Conclusion: 58% Of the selected patients reduced their consumption, 21% stopped completely. The rest reduced their dose with an average of 0.5 DDD