Benzodiazepine prescribing by GP registrars. A trial of educational outreach.

N. A. Zwar*, J. Wolk, J. J. Gordon, R. W. Sanson-Fisher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Despite ongoing concern about adverse effects and dependence on benzodiazepines, approximately 2% of Australians are still taking them on a regular basis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational outreach or 'academic detailing' program about prescribing of benzodiazepines. METHOD: In this randomised trial general practice registrars (n = 157) in New South Wales were allocated to an intervention group (n = 79), which received a 20 minute educational outreach visit; or a control group (n = 78) which received an intervention on an unrelated topic. Prescribing behaviour was monitored by a pre-intervention and two post-intervention practice activity surveys. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: These were the rate of benzodiazepine prescribing for all indications, for anxiety and for sleep disorders. RESULTS: Overall benzodiazepine prescribing by the intervention group declined from 2.3 to 1.7 per 100 encounters, while the control group also declined from 2.2 to 1.6 per 100 encounters. Analysis of variance showed this was a significant drop over time (P = 0.042) but there was no difference between groups (P = 0.99). The prescribing decrease observed was in continuing rather than initial prescriptions. CONCLUSIONS: A marked decrease in benzodiazepine prescribing was seen over the course of the study in both intervention and control groups but no differential effect due to the educational outreach visit was found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104-1107
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


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