Effects of legal and illegal use of benzodiazepines at acute admission to a psychiatric acute department
1 Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway
2 Division of Psychiatry, Department Østmarka, St. Olav's University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:263 doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-263Published: 19 October 2010
In the psychiatric acute and emergency services patients present in severe crisis often complicated by behavioral problems, substance use, and multiple axis 1 diagnoses. In these clinical settings both legal and illegal use of benzodiazepines are difficult to evaluate since benzodiazepines could in some patients be regarded as first line treatment and in other patients as the cause of the acute psychiatric condition. The aims of this study were to evaluate the frequency and clinical effects of both legal and illegal use of benzodiazepines at admittance to a psychiatric acute department.
All patients acutely admitted to a Norwegian acute psychiatric university department serving a catchment area were asked about use of benzodiazepines, other medications and substances before admission. Patients were asked to give urine samples for analyses of benzodiazepines and substances.
In 227 consecutive admissions there was legal use of benzodiazepines before admission in 39%, illegal use in 13% and no use in 48%. Patients with legal use of benzodiazepines were older, used more often antidepressants and a higher number of prescribed psychotropic medications. Illegal users of benzodiazepines more often used other illegal substances, were evaluated as clinically affected by a substance at admittance and were diagnosed with a substance use disorder. Patients with psychoses or major affective disorders treated with adequate medication (antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood-stabilizers) before admission more often received benzodiazepines than patients without adequate medication.
The patients using benzodiazepines at admittance to psychiatric acute departments could be divided in illegal and legal users. The illegal users were young, used illegal substances and were more often regarded clinically affected by substances at admittance. The legal users were older, did not use other substances and were not regarded as clinically affected by substances at admittance. Benzodiazepines were used as adjuvant therapy to specific pharmacological treatment with antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers for major psychiatric disorders.
NCT 00184119/NCT 00184132