An intervention to improve benzodiazepine use--a new approach

Fam Pract. 2010 Jun;27(3):320-7. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmq007. Epub 2010 Mar 17.


Objective: To design, implement and evaluate a novel intervention, utilizing electronic media, to improve benzodiazepine use in specific geographical areas in Australia.

Methods: An educational intervention about benzodiazepine use, using email, a website and bookmarks, targeted consumers, GPs, nurses (in aged care facilities) and pharmacists in two areas in Australia over a 6-month period. Two control areas, which received no aspect of the intervention, were used to compare and contrast. A drug use evaluation was conducted in aged care facilities before and after the study (in the intervention areas) and after the intervention (in the control areas) to assess quality of benzodiazepine use. Benzodiazepine dispensing data were obtained for each area before, during and after the intervention to quantitate use. Interviews were conducted with nurses and pharmacists involved in the intervention and website statistics were recorded.

Results: A significantly smaller number of aged care residents were on benzodiazepines for 6 months or more (P < 0.05) after the intervention compared with before. However, other indices, such as number of residents taking benzodiazepines or taking them for a long time, did not change significantly before compared to after the intervention and there were no significant differences between the control and intervention areas after the intervention. Quantitative use of benzodiazepines did not change after the intervention. Many health care professionals in the intervention areas remembered seeing the electronic educational material for benzodiazepines. The website was viewed 115 times during the study.

Conclusions: The study was easy and inexpensive to administer and attracted high participation rates by health care professionals. There was a change in the use of benzodiazepines in aged care facilities (less long-term benzodiazepine use) in the intervention areas. The electronic educational materials (emails and website) were read and informations (especially the key messages) were able to be recalled after the intervention. However, no large changes in benzodiazepine overall use (either between control and intervention areas or before and after the intervention) were recorded.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Electronic Mail
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Homes for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Teaching / methods*


  • Benzodiazepines