Magic bullets for insomnia? Patients’ use and experience of newer (z drugs) versus older (benzodiazepine) hypnotics for sleep problems in primary care

Siriwardena, Aloysius Niroshan and Qureshi, Mohammed Zubair and Dyas, Jane and Middleton, Hugh and Orner, Roderick (2008) Magic bullets for insomnia? Patients’ use and experience of newer (z drugs) versus older (benzodiazepine) hypnotics for sleep problems in primary care. British Journal of General Practice, 58 (551). pp. 417-422. ISSN 0960-1643

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Magic bullets for insomnia? Patients’ use and experience of newer (z drugs) versus older (benzodiazepine) hypnotics for sleep problems in primary care
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Abstract

Background Little is known about patients' perceptions of newer hypnotics.
Aim
To investigate use, experience, and perceptions of Z drug and benzodiazepine hypnotics in the community.
Design of study
Cross-sectional survey of general practice patients who had received at least one prescription for a Z drug or benzodiazepine in the previous 6 months.
Setting
Lincolnshire, UK.
Method
Self-administered postal questionnaire.
Results
Of 1600 surveys posted, 935 (58.4%) responses were received, of which 705 (75.4%) were from patients taking drugs for insomnia. Of those 705 patients, 87.9% (n = 620) were first prescribed a hypnotic by their GP, and 94.9% (n = 669) had taken a sleeping tablet for 4 weeks or more. At least one side effect was reported in 41.8% (n = 295); 18.6% wished to come off hypnotic medication; and 48.5% had tried to stop treatment. Patients on Z drugs were more likely to express a wish to stop (22.7% versus 12.3%; odds ratio [OR] = 1.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.13 to 2.49), or to have attempted to come off medication, than those on benzodiazepines (52.4% versus 41.0%; OR = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.12 to 2.12). The two groups did not differ significantly in respect of benefits or adverse effects.
Conclusion
There were no significant differences in patients' perceptions of efficacy or side-effects reported by those on Z drugs compared to patients taking benzodiazepines. Side-effects were commonly reported, which may have contributed to a high proportion of responders, particularly patients on Z drugs who were wishing to stop, or who had previously tried to stop taking this medication. Reported prescribing practices were often at variance with the licence for short-term use.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:use.
Keywords:attitudes, cross sectional studies, hypnotics and sedatives, prescriptions, sleep, general practice, family practice
Subjects:A Medicine and Dentistry > A300 Clinical Medicine
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:2058
Deposited By: Niro Siriwardena
Deposited On:26 Apr 2010 12:22
Last Modified:28 May 2013 10:41

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