Factors associated with high prescribing of benzodiazepines and minor opiates. A survey among general practitioners in Norway

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2003 Jun;21(2):115-20. doi: 10.1080/02813430310001734.


Objective: To determine the factors associated with high-volume prescribing of benzodiazepines and minor opiates--background characteristics, personal prescribing habits and general attitudes to prescribing.

Design: A questionnaire survey. Descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis and multiple logistic regression.

Setting: General practitioners in Norway.

Subjects: Every third general practitioner from the list of members of the Norwegian Medical Association.

Main outcome measures: Odds ratios for being a high prescriber.

Results: The main predictors of high-volume prescribing were: patients allowed to influence prescribing decisions, benzodiazepines and minor opiates prescribed without consultation, prescribing perceived as difficult and the doctor being male.

Conclusion: Emotional and relational aspects play an important part in decisions on prescribing benzodiazepine and minor opiates. Our findings indicate that there is potential for improvement in prescribing practice; for instance, by investigating how and to what extent prescribing decisions are influenced by patients and how the difficulties experienced influence the decision process. Better practice routines could be considered such as not prescribing these drugs without consultation.

MeSH terms

  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcotics / therapeutic use*
  • Norway
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Responsibility
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Narcotics
  • Benzodiazepines