To assess the impact of both general and psychiatric hospitalization on the community prescribing of benzodiazepines, we carried out an observational study using record linkage of prescribing prior to and following hospitalization along with a review of hospital case records at four Tayside General Practices. In a population of 29,672 subjects, 2628 general hospital and 254 psychiatric hospitalizations were studied. The main outcome measure was the change in community benzodiazepine prescribing following hospitalization. We found that admission to a general hospital resulted in 59 of the 2628 subjects (2.2%) commencing and 45 subjects (1.7%) discontinuing benzodiazepines. Admission to a psychiatric hospital resulted in 17 of 254 subjects (6.7%) commencing and 40 (16.7%) discontinuing benzodiazepines. When compared to benzodiazepine prescribing in the study population these effects were trivial. We conclude that hospitalization in both general and psychiatric hospitals had a minor effect on total community prescribing of benzodiazepines. In this study general hospital admission resulted in a small net increase and psychiatric hospitalization a small net decrease in benzodiazepine prescribing.
- Drug utilization
- Record linkage