Benzodiazepine-related beliefs may influence clinicians' willingness to prescribe the drug

Despite the continuing growth of benzodiazepine (BZD)-related overdoses, BZD prescription rates have held constant. Much is unknown about how a doctor's own beliefs about BZD use and potential harm to patients might influence their willingness to prescribe the drug.

Using a Medicare database, researchers identified primary care providers who had prescribed a BZD in 2017 and surveyed a random sample of 100 doctors on their attitudes around BZD prescribing. Approximately 62% of clinician respondents reported that they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement, "If a patient has been prescribed a benzodiazepine for years, the potential harms from continuing the benzodiazepine are low," while 18.0% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement.

When clinicians believed that the potential harms from continuing BZDs were low for patients on long-term treatment, they were more likely to prescribe a BZD to patients for whom they cared.

Journal reference:

Maust, D.T., et al. (2022) Linking a Survey of Clinician Benzodiazepine-Related Beliefs to Risk of Benzodiazepine Prescription Fills Among Patients in Medicare. The Annals of Family Medicine.


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