APH 2004, 62, 227 - 241 :

Regional Differences in the Consumption of Benzodiazepines: an Analysis from Belgium.

H. Habraken, J. De Maeseneer, L. De Prins, C. Gosset

Keywords: benzodiazepines, survey, community, drug utilization

Aim of the study: To examine if differences in benzodiazepine use between two urban regions in Belgium could be explained by sociodemographic and health related factors.

Method: Two samples of 2400 respondents from all members of the Christian and socialist health insurance agencies of Aalst and Liège, aged at least 45 years. Respondents were interviewed at home on sociodemographic and health related issues and filled out health related questionnaires. They also showed all the drugs used at the moment of the interview. Univariate and multivariate analyses were done to determine the predictors of benzodiazepine use.

Main findings: The prevalence of benzodiazepine use was significantly higher in Liège (27.2%) than in Aalst (19.6%). Marked differences were also found between Aalst and Liège on most sociodemographic and health-related variables. A logistic regression analysis including region, sociodemographic characteristics and health behaviours/attitudes as independent predictors of benzodiazepine use still resulted in a significant influence of the factor ‘region’. However, this influence turned out to be insignificant when the respondent’s morbidity was taken into
account.

Conclusions: Differences in benzodiazepine use between Liège and Aalst are partly explained by differences in self-reported morbidity. Objective morbidity data and information on prescribers might give more insight in such regional differences.