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Risk of hospitalisation associated with benzodiazepines and z-drugs in Italy: a nationwide multicentre study in emergency departments

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Risk of hospitalisation associated with benzodiazepines and z-drugs in Italy: a nationwide multicentre study in emergency departments

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Niccolò Lombardi, Alessandra Bettiol, Giada Crescioli, Claudia Ravaldi, Roberto Bonaiuti, Mauro Venegoni, Giuseppe Danilo Vighi, Alessandro Mugelli, Guido Mannaioni, Alfredo Vannacci the MEREAFaPS Study group 

Abstract

Benzodiazepines (BZD) and z-drugs (ZD) are a widely prescribed group of medicines. They are often used inappropriately, and this is associated with adverse events (AEs), which may cause emergency department (ED) visits. The present study aimed to describe the characteristics of BZD and ZD related AEs leading to emergency department (ED) visit and hospitalisation in Italy, considering their plasma half-life. Ninety-two Italian EDs were monitored between 2007 and 2018. Rates of ED visit and hospitalisation were calculated. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the reporting odds ratios (RORs) of hospitalisation. Univariate linear regression was performed to evaluate the ROR of hospitalisation according the plasma half-life of the suspected agents. A total of 3203 AE reports were collected. Overall, multivariate logistic regression showed that the risk of hospitalisation was higher for prazepam (3.26 [1.31–8.11]), flurazepam (1.62 [1.15–2.27]), and lorazepam (1.36 [1.15–1.61]). In the elderly, this risk was higher for prazepam (3.98 [1.03–15.3]), and lorazepam (1.58 [1.19–2.11]). Parenteral and rectal formulations were associated with a lower risk of hospitalisation compared to oral formulations. Our findings underlined the dangers in the use of BZD and ZD in Italy, particularly in women and older adults. ED clinicians must always take into account that the higher risk in terms of hospitalisation related to the use of BZD and ZD can be observed in patients treated with oral formulations, in those exposed to more than one sedative-hypnotics, and in patients exposed to compounds with intermediate or long plasma half-life.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s11739-020-02339-7