Background and importance The most frequently recorded mental health problem is anxiety disorder and in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, where an increase in anxiety cases has been evidenced, benzodiazepine derivatives (N05BA) have been one of the most prescribed pharmacological groups in most developed countries for this problem. Although their short-term benefits have been demonstrated, increasing their consumption may have long-term risks.
Aim and objectives The main aim of this study was to find out the prescriptions of benzodiazepine derivatives from 2018 to 2021 in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the variation in them. A secondary objective was to learn which benzodiazepine derivatives varied more.
Material and methods Retrospective, observational and cross-sectional study. The study period included June 2018, June 2019, June 2020 and June 2021. The study population included the 710 581 inhabitants associated with the prescribing doctors of benzodiazepine derivatives from the study province.
Results Total study population N=710 581; 21.61% (153.574) with a benzodiazepine prescription, 67.33% (103 416) women, between June 2018 and June 2021.
The prescribed benzodiazepine derivatives were: alprazolam, diazepam, diazepam/pyridoxine, clotiazepam, lorazepam, ketazolam, clobazam, pinazepam, clorazepato dipotassium, bromazepam, bentazepam, diazepam/sulpiride and diazepam/sulpiride/pyridoxine.
June 2018: 35 800 prescriptions, 67.30% (24 085) women; June 2019: 37 601, 67.20% (25 262) women; June 2020: 39 547, 67.30% (26 622) women; and June 2021: 40 626, 67.60% (27.477) women.
From June 2018 to June 2019 prescriptions increased 5.03% (1801), from June 2019 to June 2020 they increased 5.20% (1946); and from June 2020 to June 2021 they increased 2.73% (1079), which represented a 13.48% increase in prescriptions (4826) from June 2018 to June 2021.
The largest prescription increases were diazepam +23%, lorazepam +18%, bromazepam +12.5%, and alprazolam +12.3%.
The largest prescription decreases were clotiazepam and bentazepam –100%, pinazepam –96.43% and clobazazam –22.45%.
Conclusion and relevance In the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic we have seen a progressive increase in benzodiazepines of 13.48% (4826 prescriptions) from June 2018 to June 2021, with women being the users of 67.33% of prescriptions on average. These data allow us to know the current situation of the prescription of benzodiazepine derivatives to the population and to focus on mental health both in the validation of treatments and in pharmaceutical care.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest
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