A drug education tool developed for older adults changes knowledge, beliefs and risk perceptions about inappropriate benzodiazepine prescriptions in the elderly

Patient Educ Couns. 2013 Jul;92(1):81-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.02.016. Epub 2013 Mar 29.


Objective: To develop and test an educational tool for older adults that increases risk perception about benzodiazepines through knowledge acquisition and change in beliefs.

Methods: A written educational tool was mailed to 144 benzodiazepine consumers aged ≥65 years recruited from community pharmacies. Knowledge and beliefs about inappropriate prescriptions were queried prior to and 1-week after the intervention. Primary outcome was a change in risk perception. Explanatory variables were a change in knowledge and beliefs about medications. Self-efficacy for tapering and intent to discuss discontinuation were also measured.

Results: Post-intervention, 65 (45.1%) participants perceived increased risk. Increased risk perceptions were explained by better knowledge acquisition (mean change score 0.9, 95% CI (0.5, 1.3)), and a change in beliefs (BMQ differential mean change score -5.03, 95% CI (-6.4, -3.6)), suggesting elicitation of cognitive dissonance. Self-efficacy for tapering, (mean change score 31.2, 95% CI (17.9, 44.6)), and intent to discuss discontinuation of benzodiazepine with a doctor (83.1% vs 44.3%, p<0.001) were higher among participants who perceived increased risk.

Conclusion: Risk perception surrounding inappropriate prescriptions can be altered through direct delivery of an educational tool to aging consumers.

Practice implications: Patients should be targeted directly with information to catalyze discontinuation of inappropriate prescriptions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents*
  • Benzodiazepines*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Patient Education as Topic* / methods
  • Perception
  • Risk Assessment
  • Self Efficacy


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines