Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids in community-dwelling older people with or without Alzheimer's disease - A nationwide register-based study in Finland
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CitationKarttunen, Niina. Taipale, Heidi. Hamina, Aleksi. Tanskanen, Antti. Tiihonen, Jari. Tolppanen, Anna-Maija. Hartikainen, Sirpa. (2018). Concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids in community-dwelling older people with or without Alzheimer's disease - A nationwide register-based study in Finland. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY, [Epub ahead of print 27 Nov 2018], 10.1002/gps.5018.
The study aims to determine the prevalence of concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids among community‐dwelling older people with or without Alzheimer's disease (AD). An additional aim was to describe the factors associated with prolonged concomitant use, and the most commonly used combinations of these drugs.
This study utilized data from the register‐based Medication Use and Alzheimer's disease (MEDALZ) study, including all community‐dwelling residents of Finland who received a clinically verified AD diagnosis between 2005 and 2011 (n = 70 718) and their matched comparison persons without AD. After exclusion of individuals who were hospitalized throughout the follow‐up, 69 353 persons with and 69 353 without AD were included in this study.
Benzodiazepines and related drugs (BZDRs) were used by 28 475 (41.1%) of those with and 24 506 (35.3%) of those without AD. Prolonged (greater than or equal to 90 days) concomitant use of BZDRs and opioids was more common among BZDR users without AD (N = 3936; 16.1%) than among those with AD (N = 2963; 10.4%). A shorter duration of concomitant use (1‐89 days) revealed similar results, N = 3821; 15.6% and N = 3008; 10.6%, respectively. Prolonged concomitant use of BZDRs and opioids was associated with female sex, low socioeconomic position, most of the common comorbidities and history of substance abuse or long‐term benzodiazepine use. The most commonly used combinations were Z‐drug (31.7%) or benzodiazepine (29.9%) with a weak opioid.
Despite the recommendations and risks, the prevalence of concomitant BZDR and opioid use was common in older persons with or without AD. It is important to develop strategies to reduce unnecessary concomitant use of these drugs.