The Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (VA/DoD) Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD recommends against the use of benzodiazepines. Despite the recommendation, clinicians continue potentially inappropriate benzodiazepine prescribing practices for veterans with PTSD. We designed an educational product aimed at decreasing benzodiazepine use in PTSD care. Using VA data, the booklet was mailed to over 1300 New England veterans. Veterans were advised to discuss the booklet's information with their medical provider on their next appointment. The intervention resulted in a significant decrease in benzodiazepine use in veterans with PTSD, with 66% of the sample showing a dose reduction from pre- to post-booklet time points. Longitudinal analyses noted that rural veterans were significantly more likely to reduce benzodiazepine use than those in urban settings. Direct to consumer education appears to be an effective strategy to empower rural veterans to improve benzodiazepine prescribing safety and quality.
Keywords: Benzodiazepines; Clinical pharmacology; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Rural; Treatment.
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