Objective: This study compared prescribed psychotropic medication patterns for reported sleep disorders in French and Quebec samples.
Method: The first study was undertaken in France (N = 5622) and the second in the metropolitan area of Montreal (N = 1722). Lay interviewers used a specialized knowledge-based system for the purpose of evaluating sleep disorders by telephone.
Results: Results showed similar prevalence of insomnia complaints in both samples (20.1% and 17.8%, respectively). A higher level of psychotropic consumption was found in France (11.7% [95% confidence interval (CI), 10.9 to 12.5]) compared with Quebec, however, where consumption was less than half the French rate (5.5% [95% CI, 4.4 to 6.6]). Both studies identified females and the elderly as the primary consumers of these drugs. For approximately two-thirds of both samples, sleep-promoting medications were prescribed for a year or longer, revealing a chronicity of the consumption. Approximately 4 out of 5 prescriptions for sleeping medications were ordered by general practitioners in both samples.
Conclusion: These findings clearly show a higher prevalence of psychotropic drug use in the French compared with the Quebec population. The patterns of consumption and prescription, however, are quite similar in both studies.