Assessing Benzodiazepine Use in the Elderly

Date

2021

Authors

Wickramage, Pavithra
Gibson, John
Hadley, Lesca

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Abstract

Chronic benzodiazepines are frequently prescribed to patients above the age of 65 for anxiety and/or insomnia. They are listed in the Beer's criteria as medication that should not be prescribed to the geriatric population. In order to understand prescribing habits and limit the use of benzodiazepines in this demographic, a protocol following the Patient Monitoring Program (PMP) Narx Score was studied. Patients about the age of 65 who have a sedative score about 200 according to their PMP report were identified and recommended for tapering of medication and/or referral to psychiatry. Willingness to taper off medication was considered a positive result and compared to data gathered before this enhancement. After the implementation of the above-mentioned enhancement, 100% of patients were willing to be tapered off medication. This is in contrast to the 67% that were willing to be tapered off before. Significance for the terms of this study was set to be if greater than 50% of patients were willing, which was a success rate present before and after the enhancement. In conclusion, the utilization of the sedative NARX proved to be an effective method to identify patients who are at great risk of chronic benzodiazepine use. The age of the patient is used to calculate said score. Although the use of this score was beneficial to improving patient outcomes in the studied clinic, future studies should be implemented in clinics who did not have a prior history of geriatric patient education already implemented into the clinic culture.

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