Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs prescribed for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and psychosis. However, the number of patients who develop long-term benzodiazepine use and the factors associated with it remain uncertain. This study aims to examine the incidence of long-term benzodiazepine use and the factors associated with it.
This population-based cohort study included a total of 129,732 new benzodiazepine users who were aged 18 years or older. The researchers followed-up the participants until death, long-term hospitalization, or 2+ years of gap in use. The primary outcome of the study was long-term benzodiazepine use, as determined by a continuous intake for 180 days or longer. The factors associated with long-term use were also reported.
The findings suggested that 51,099 benzodiazepine users (39.4%) became long-term users during the follow-up period. Long-term treatment was more commonly associated with the older subcohort, as compared to the younger subcohort. At a follow-up of 6 months, 28,586 participants had become long-term users. The most common factors associated with the development of long-term use were male sex, psychiatric comorbidities, older age, and substance abuse
The research concluded that the prevalence of long-term use of benzodiazepines was high, with the effect being more profound in older adults