Research Article

Benzodiazepine drugs in general medical patients.

Br Med J 1976; 1 doi: (Published 20 March 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;1:680
  1. C M Kesson,
  2. J M Gray,
  3. D H Lawson


    Data from a hospital-based drug surveillance programme were used to determine how often benzodiazepine drugs were used in general medical wards. Benzodiazepines were the drugs most commonly used as hypnotics and were given to 32% of these patients. Concomitant use of more than one benzodiazepine drug or of benzodiazepines with other psychoactive drugs was common and often irrational. A series of double-blind patient-preference studies comparing various benzodiazepines and a benzodiazepine with an antihistamine showed that for short-term hypnotic effect there were no differences between three common benzodiazepines but elderly patients preferred benzodiazepines to the antihistamine, which produced more undesired effects. These results suggest that currently diazepam is the hypnotic of choice for medical ward inpatients.