Concomitant prescribing of tranquilizers and hypnotics among patients receiving antidepressant prescriptions.


OBJECTIVE To evaluate concomitant prescribing of tranquilizers and hypnotics in antidepressant treatment with particular focus on the relationship to drug class in patients prescribed antidepressant treatment for depressive disorders. DESIGN AND METHODS Repeated cross-sectional surveys of Swedish physicians in ambulatory care from 1991 to 1996, including specialty practices. The participation rate was 65-70%. RESULTS Tranquilizers and hypnotics were prescribed in 36.1% of the visits in which the intention was to treat depression. Concomitant prescribing increased with the patient's age for all antidepressant drug classes. Women received more concomitant prescriptions than men when treated with nonselective monoamine-reuptake inhibitors (NSMRI), mainly tricyclic compounds. Psychiatrists prescribed more concomitant tranquilizers and hypnotics than other physicians, and general practitioners fewer, when treating depression with selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), mainly citalopram. A logistic regression model showed that the risk for concomitant prescribing was higher when an NSMRI was prescribed than with other antidepressants. CONCLUSIONS Concomitant prescribing of tranquilizers and hypnotics was common among antidepressant-treated patients. The most plausible reasons for the high rate of concomitant prescribing were the symptoms of the depression itself and/or the common comorbidity with anxiety disorders seen in this group of patients. The results of this study indicate that the concern about increased tranquilizer and hypnotic use among patients treated with SSRIs suggested in other studies seems to be unfounded in Sweden.

Cite this paper

@article{Bingefors1998ConcomitantPO, title={Concomitant prescribing of tranquilizers and hypnotics among patients receiving antidepressant prescriptions.}, author={Kerstin Bingefors and Dag Isacson}, journal={The Annals of pharmacotherapy}, year={1998}, volume={32 5}, pages={531-5} }