Authors of a JAMA Network Open study asked the question, “How are benzodiazepines being prescribed, and how have prescribing patterns changed over time?” They found in a serial cross-sectional study of 386 457 ambulatory care visits from 2003 through 2015, the use of benzodiazepines in ambulatory care increased substantially from 3.8% to 7.4% of visits, including co-prescribing with other sedating medications. Use among psychiatrists was stable (29.6% vs 30.2%) but increased among all other types of physicians, including primary care physicians (3.6% vs 7.5%), who as a group accounted for about half of all benzodiazepine visits. The study suggests that considering increasing death rates associated with benzodiazepine overdose, addressing prescribing patterns may help curb the growing use of benzodiazepines.

Review Article