According to a study appearing in the Journal Psychiatric Services Anti-anxiety drugs are the most misused drugs and misuse of these prescription drugs accounted for more than 17 per cent of overall use.
The “Misuse” was defined by the researchers as -Any way a doctor did not direct, including using the drug without a prescription or more often or longer than prescribed. It was found to be highest among young adults 18 to 25 (5.6 per cent) and was as common as prescribed use.
It is said that Anxiety and tension gift of today’s civilisation is in the air and Benzodiazepines are among most common medicines to alleviate them. According to an estimate, more than one in eight U.S. adults (12.6 per cent) used benzodiazepines in the past year and it is ever increasing. It is also a class of medications used to treat insomnia. They include Alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam, lorazepam and others. Researchers analyzed data from the 2015 and 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
In the past research from 2013 and 2014 found about 4 to 6 per cent of adults used benzodiazepines. Previous national estimates of use have not accounted for misuse. In addition to finding that overall use has increased, today’s study is the first analysis to find the highest benzodiazepine use among adults 50 to 64 years (13 per cent); previous studies found the highest use was among those 65 and older. Whereas women were more likely than men to report any use of benzodiazepines, men were more likely than women to report misuse. Benzodiazepine use has come under increasing scrutiny given the associated harms and safer alternatives, particularly in light of the opioid epidemic. The study found benzodiazepine misuse was strongly associated with misuse of or dependence on prescription opioids or stimulants.
When asked about the reasons for misuse, nearly half said to relax or relieve tension and just over a quarter said to help with sleep. Among people taking benzodiazepines without a prescription, the most common source was a friend or relative.
The authors, led by Donovan Maust, M.D., with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, suggest that patients also prescribed stimulants or opioids should be monitored for benzodiazepine misuse. They also note that some misuse may reflect limited access to health care generally and behavioural treatments specifically and suggest that some misuse could be reduced with improved access to behavioural interventions for sleep or anxiety.