Papers And Short Reports

Prevalence, frequency, and duration of hypnotic drug use among the elderly living at home

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.296.6622.601 (Published 27 February 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:601
  1. Kevin Morgan,
  2. Helen Dallosso,
  3. Shah Ebrahim,
  4. Tom Arie,
  5. Peter H Fentem

    Abstract

    Details of consumption of hypnotic drugs derived from a nationally representative sample of elderly people were analysed in terms of the prevalence, duration, and likely frequency of use. Of 1020 randomly selected subjects aged 65 and over 16% (166) reported using (mainly benzodiazepine) hypnotic drugs, and of these 89% reported having taken such a drug the night before the interview. Most of these users (73%) had been taking hypnotic drugs for more than one year, with 25% reporting drug use for more than 10 years.

    These results suggest that for most elderly users of hypnotic drugs, patterns of consumption encourage the development of cumulative effects and benzodiazepine dependence.