Introduction: Benzodiazepines are a large group of drugs used as hypnotics, anxiolytics, and tranquillisers, anti convulsants, pre-medication and for intravenous sedation. Extended use of benzodiazepines may lead to dependence and misuse. Use of benzodiazepines, for anxiety disorder and insomnia, is therefore just recommended for short-term use. Current European prescribing guidelines for usage of benzodiazepines for general anxiety is 4 weeks and 1-2 weeks for acute insomnia. Despite prescribing recommendations long-term use is widespread in medical practice, especially among elderly. For many years now concerns have been expressed over the inappropriate use of benzodiazepines in Ireland.
Aim: The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of exploiting government General Medical Services (GMS) data to provide periodic drug utilisation reports, and assess benzodiazepine and related drug usage in the North Eastern Health Board (NEHB) region durin...