Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing linked to socioeconomic deprivation

Researchers found a higher prescribing rate for benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in more deprived areas, but noted that more research is needed to decipher the factors that lead to variation in prescribing in England.

Benzodiazepine and Z-drugs pill packs

Source: Alamy Stock Photo

After adjusting for age and sex, benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing was seen to be higher in areas with greater socioeconomic deprivation

Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs, such as zopiclone, are prescribed more frequently in areas of greater socioeconomic deprivation, a study published in Family Practice has shown (22 October 2019)[1].

Researchers looked at data on benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing in England from 2017, and correlated it with practice socioeconomic status using index of multiple deprivation (IMD) scores. Medicine doses were converted to their milligram-equivalent of diazepam to enable comparison.

After adjusting for age and sex, benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing was more common in practices with higher IMD scores, indicating greater deprivation. However, the team noted that IMD score only explained a small proportion of the overall variation in prescribing.

The researchers said that it was important to understand prescribing patterns for these drugs, owing to their potential for addiction and dependence.

They added that more research is now needed to better characterise the factors leading to prescribing variation.

“Although Z-drugs and benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed and effective in specific situations, the side effects and potential for abuse, as well as the propensity for addiction, mean closer scrutiny is required,” the researchers concluded.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207408

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.