French general practitioners (GPs) are known to widely prescribe medications to treat insomnia despite their negative effects. GPs’ easy access to self-medication may affect their mental representation of sleep and hypnotics, and subsequently their professional behaviour. Our aim was to examine the association between GPs’ personal hypnotic drug consumption habits and their management of patients with sleep disturbances. A randomized sample of Alsatian GPs participated in a survey based on questionnaires including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Dysfunctional Beliefs About Sleep in 10 questions to characterize sleep, and an evaluation of their management strategies regarding sleep for both patients and themselves. Two-hundred and forty-nine GPs were included (response rate of 51%). Demographics of the GPs’ samples were representative of those of the Alsatian GP population. Fifteen percent of the survey respondents met insomnia criteria. For the management of their own sleep disturbances, 14.3% of GPs were taking hypnotic drugs and 8.7% were taking anxiolytics, with greater drug consumption in the insomnia group. In a multivariate analysis, GPs who personally consumed these medications prescribed significantly more of them to patients, whereas their insomnia status had less impact. Other factors such as gender and type of practice were not associated with a higher prescription rate. Our results indicate that GPs’ personal drug consumption can have a significant impact on the management of their patients, therefore suggesting that actions towards GPs’ health improvement may also benefit their patients and the public.
© 2020 European Sleep Research Society.
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