Faculté de pharmacie, Université Laval, Québec, Canada, Faculté de médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada, Faculté de médecine, Université de Sherbrooke, Longueuil, Canada, Faculté de sciences infirmières, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
Context. Prolonged use of benzodiazepines increases the risk of addiction. The impact of this disease on the use of health services by older adults is not known.
Objective. Examine the association between benzodiazepine dependence and use of health services by older adults in Quebec.
Methodology. The data comes from a survey conducted in Quebec in 2005-2006 with a representative sample of 707 elderly benzodiazepine consumption in the community. Benzodiazepine dependence was defined according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Revised Edition. The use of health services as measured by the incidence of consultations with health professionals over a period of 12 months.
Results. Seniors have consumed an average daily dose of 6.1 (± 7.6) mg diazepam equivalent to an average of 205 (± 130) days. The prevalence of benzodiazepine dependence has been estimated at 9.5%. This dependence increases the likelihood of consulting a specialist (odds ratio (OR) = 3.42; confidence interval 95% (CI 95%) = 1.38 to 8.50). Visits to other health professionals frontline were not significant.
Conclusion. The results of this study suggest that the proportion of seniors who become addicted to benzodiazepines and do not use health services for this condition is important. There is a need to develop programs to improve the quality of benzodiazepine use in this population.