HealthDay News — Benzodiazepines were prescribed at 27 annual physician office visits per 100 adults during 2014 to 2016, according to a study published online Jan. 17 in the National Health Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Loredana Santo, M.D., M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the 2014 to 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to describe characteristics of visits to office-based physicians at which benzodiazepines were prescribed.

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The researchers found that the rate of visits at which benzodiazepines were prescribed was 27 annual visits per 100 adults during 2014 to 2016. About one-third of visits at which benzodiazepines were prescribed involved an overlapping opioid prescription (rate of 10 annual visits per 100 adults). The rates for both visits were higher for women and increased with age. A problem related to a chronic condition was the most common reason for visits at which benzodiazepines were prescribed and for visits at which benzodiazepines and opioids were coprescribed. The most frequent primary diagnosis category for visits at which benzodiazepines were prescribed was mental disorders, while coprescription of benzodiazepines and opioids was most frequent for a primary diagnosis category of diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue.

“Analysis of office-based physician visits may help monitor benzodiazepine prescriptions and coprescriptions of benzodiazepines and opioids,” the authors write.

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