Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice Observed

Development of long term use of psychotropic drugs by general practice patients

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 23 January 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:251
  1. Andrea Mant,
  2. Paul Duncan-Jones,
  3. Deborah Saltman,
  4. Charles Bridges-Webb,
  5. Linda Kehoe,
  6. Gwenda Lansbury,
  7. Alan H B Chancellor


    From 1984 to 1986 a prospective study was conducted of 104 general practice patients who started treatment with a benzodiazepine or an antidepressant drug. The duration of reported use of the drugs was two months for 45% of patients, four months for 17% of patients, and six months for 15%. Type of drug, age, and level of education were found to be predictive of continuing use.

    General practitioners have a significant effect on their patients' use of drugs and, with careful selection and review when prescribing, may help to prevent dependence on psychotropic drugs.