The prescription of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs (analgesics) was studied using computerized patient records from a Finnish health centre with a population base of some 27,000 inhabitants. A random sample of every fifth patient visiting the health centre in 1986 was chosen. This study sample consisted of 4,577 patients with 17,021 physician contacts and altogether 14,035 prescriptions during the 1-year follow-up: of these analgesics comprised 14.8%. The proportion of the study population who received at least one analgesic prescription was 23 +/- 1.2% (95% CI). The use of physician contacts as a base revealed 10.7 +/- 0.5% (95% CI) of the contacts with an analgesic prescription. The exposure to analgesics among males increased with age from 17% for those aged 15-34 years to 34% for those aged 75 years or more. Among women, exposure to analgesics increased from 17% (15-34 years) to 41% (75 years or more). Most of patients who received analgesic prescriptions were incidental users (one or two analgesic prescriptions per year). Only 4% of women and 3% of men were categorized as heavy users of analgesics (seven or more analgesic prescriptions per year). The proportion of heavy users increased with age and was highest in the oldest age-group (75 years or more). In order to make informed policy judgements about drug use in society, we need routine sales statistics and patient-specific drug-use data such as those presented in this paper.
Drug dependency may develop during long-term benzodiazepine use, indicated, for example, by dose escalation. The first benzodiazepine chosen may affect the risk of dose escalation.
To detect possible differences in benzodiazepine use between new users of diazepam and oxazepam over time.
This 5-year prescription database study included 19 747 new benzodiazepine users, inhabitants of Norway, aged 30-60 years, with first redemption for diazepam or oxazepam.
Individuals starting on diazepam versus oxazepam were analysed by logistic regression with sex, age, other drug redemptions, prescriber's specialty, household income, education level, type of work, and vocational rehabilitation support as background variables. Time to reach a daily average intake of =1 defined daily doses (DDD) over a 3-month period was analysed using a Cox proportional hazard regression model.
New users of oxazepam had a higher risk for dose escalation compared with new users of diazepam. This was true even when accounting for differences in sociodemographic status and previous drug use (hazard ratio [HR] 1.33, 95% confidence interval = 1.17 to 1.51).
Most doctors prescribed, according to recommendations, oxazepam to individuals they may have regarded as prone to and at risk of dependency. However, these individuals were at higher risk for dose escalation even when accounting for differences in sociodemographic status and previous drug use. Differences between the two user groups could be explained by different preferences for starting drug, DDD for oxazepam being possibly too low, and some unaccounted differences in illness.
Over a period of two months in 1988 and 1989 general practitioners in the Norwegian county of Møre and Romsdal recorded all contacts with their patients. Participation was close to 100%. We report data from 10,850 surgery consultations with elderly patients (65 years and older). 60% of the consultations involved female patients, and 58% of the patients were 65-74 years old. New diagnoses were made in one-third of the cases; two-thirds were follow-ups. The most common groups of diagnoses were cardiovascular (28%), musculoskeletal (13%), psychiatric (8%) and respiratory diseases (8%). Almost 10% of all consultations were for hypertension. Drugs were prescribed in 45% of all cases. 27% of all prescriptions were for cardiovascular drugs, and 25% were for drugs for the nervous system. The 20 most common diagnoses made up more than half of the total number of diagnoses. Almost 70% of all prescriptions were for the ten most common therapeutic groups.
BACKGROUND: Drug therapy for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis is based on anti-inflammatory and immunodulating drugs, nutritional support and surgical resection. Recently, new drugs have been introduced. AIM: To report drug prescriptions, costs and adverse reactions among inflammatory bowel disease patients in Sweden between 1988 and 1997. METHODS: Drug use was calculated from the national Diagnosis and therapy survey and drug costs from prescriptions and drug sales. Adverse drug reactions were obtained from the Medical Products Agency's National Pharmacovigilance system. RESULTS: The annual drug exposure for Crohn's disease was 0.55 million daily doses per million population, mainly supplementation and aminosalicylic acids. Mesalazine and olsalazine had 61% within this group. For ulcerative colitis patients, drug exposure was 0.61 million daily doses per million per year and aminosalicylic acids fell from 70% to 65%. For inflammatory bowel disease patients, corticosteroids and nutritional supplementation were common. The annual average cost for inflammatory bowel disease drugs was 7.0 million US dollars. Annually, 32 adverse drug reactions were reported, mainly haematological reactions such as agranulocytosis and pancytopenia (60%), followed by skin reactions. Only two deaths were reported. Aminosalicylic acids were the most commonly reported compounds. CONCLUSIONS: Drug use for inflammatory bowel disease in the pre-biologic agent era rested on aminosalicylic acid drugs and corticosteroids with stable levels, proportions and costs. The level of adverse drug reactions was low but haematological reactions support the monitoring of inflammatory bowel disease patients.
Over a period of two months in 1988 and 1989 all general practitioners in the Norwegian county of Møre and Romsdal recorded all contacts with their patients. We report data from 1,384 house calls to elderly patients (65 years and older). House calls made up 11.3% of all face-to-face contacts between general practitioners and elderly patients. 59% of the visits were to female patients, and 60% were to patients 75 years and older. 23% of the house calls took place during weekends, and new diagnoses were made in 58% of the cases. The most common groups of diagnoses were cardiovascular (21%), respiratory (16%), and musculoskeletal diseases (13%). Drugs were prescribed for 42% of the house calls. 28% of all drugs prescribed were for the nervous system, while 26% were antibiotics for systemic use. Most house calls were made because of acute illnesses. Our results suggest that preventive home visits to the elderly are rarely, if ever, performed in general practice.
In Denmark a new trend concerning the abuse of codeine has been observed. Danish drug abusers have discovered that codeine is easily separated from certain drugs containing acetylsalicylic acid and codeine. When separated the codeine can be used either orally or intravenously. Three different drugs combining acetylsalicylic acid and codeine are available in Denmark, but codeine is only easily separable from one of these. Applying the same procedure to the two other drugs produces unpredictable or unfavourable ratios of codeine to acetylsalicylic acid. In several countries, however, similar drugs combining acetylsalicylic acid and codeine are available. It is not possible from a list of constituents to predict how easily codeine can be separated from a particular drug. Therefore it is strongly recommended that relevant drugs are tested at local forensic laboratories. In case codeine is found to be very easily separated from a product appropriate action should be taken.