Use of benzodiazepines according to the admission diagnosis

Francesc Formiga, Enric Duaso, Domingo Ruiz, Antonio San José, Agustín Urrutia, Alfonso López-Soto

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Background and objective: Chronic consumption of benzodiazepines is common in elderly patients. The aim of the study was to analyse the possible differences between patients taking benzodiazepines and those without them. We also determined, among patients on benzodiazepines, if any differences were related to medical or surgical admissions. Patients and methods: We performed a prospective and multicentre study of 393 patients admitted consecutively for medical reasons to 6 geriatrics acute units; these patients were compared to 1,225 patients hospitalized for a hip fracture. We collected sociodemographic data, functional capacity by the Barthel's index (BI), comorbidity by the Charlson's index and cognitive impairment by the Pfeiffer test. Results: We evaluated 1,618 patients, with a median age of 82.9 (6.5) years. Among patients admitted for medical causes, 581 (35.9%) were taking benzodiazepines chronically as did 449 (36.6%) patients in the hip fracture group (p = 0.27). In the multivariate analysis, factors associated with the use of benzodiazepines included older age, institutionalization and a higher number of drug consumption. Differences according to the admission reason showed that patients admitted for medical causes lived more frequently in the community and had less falls, worse BI as well as a higher number of comorbidities and polypharmacy. Conclusions: More than one third of elderly patients hospitalized for medical or traumatology causes were taking benzodiazepines chronically. Different patients' profiles can be observed according to whether they are or not taking benzodiazepines and to the admission's cause in the subgroup of patients on benzodiazepines. © 2011 Elsevier Espana, S.L. Todos los derechos reservados.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-534
JournalMedicina Clinica
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2012


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Elderly
  • Functional capability


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