Trajectory analysis of anxiolytic dispensing over 10 years among new users aged 50 and older

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2018 Apr;137(4):328-341. doi: 10.1111/acps.12858. Epub 2018 Feb 13.


Objective: To identify temporal trajectories of anxiolytic benzodiazepine (A-BZD) use over 10 years among new A-BZD users aged 50 and older and describe treatment patterns and demographic and clinical characteristics associated with each trajectory.

Method: A representative cohort of the French national health insurance fund users was tracked from 2006 through 2015. We used latent class mixed models to identify the trajectories.

Results: We observed four trajectories among new users (no A-BZD dispensing in 2005) plus one non-use trajectory. The proportion of occasional use among users was 60%; early increasing use, 10%; late increasing use, 17%; and increasing/decreasing use, 13%. Prevalence of occasional use decreased with age in women, but not men. Duration of treatment episodes and doses differed between trajectories. Multiple regression analyses with occasional use as the reference showed that the other three trajectories shared characteristics (age, coprescriptions of other psychotropic drugs, and more general practitioner consultations) but differed by the presence at inclusion or occurrence during follow-up of psychiatric, neurodegenerative, and somatic conditions.

Conclusion: We found four different long-term temporal trajectories in new A-BZD users (occasional, early increasing, late increasing, and increasing/decreasing use). Difficulties quitting or reducing consumption may be very different for each trajectory, requiring tailored care approaches.

Keywords: antianxiety agents/therapeutic use; benzodiazepines/therapeutic use; latent class mixed models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines