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Benzodiazepine Use Declining in Older Adults

Findings based on assessment of incidence, prevalence of use in three countries from 2010-2016

FRIDAY, Feb. 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) — There have been small but significant reductions in the incidence and prevalence of benzodiazepine use in older adults in Canada, the United States, and Australia, according to a brief report published online Feb. 12 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Jonathan Brett, M.B.B.S., from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues assessed annual trends in benzodiazepine incidence and prevalence among older adults in Canada, the United States, and Australia between 2010 and 2016.

The researchers found a significant decrease in incident benzodiazepine use in the United States (2.6 to 1.7 percent) and Ontario (6.0 to 4.4 percent), but not in Australia (7.0 to 6.7 percent). There were significant declines in prevalent use in all countries. In Ontario and Australia, incidence and prevalence increased with age, but they decreased with age in the United States. In all countries, incidence and prevalence were higher in women.

“Consistent with other international studies, there have been small but significant reductions in the incidence and prevalence of benzodiazepine use in older adults in all three countries, with the exception of incidence in Australia, although use remains inappropriately high particularly in those aged 85 and older which warrants further attention from clinicians and policy-makers,” the authors write.

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