Awareness and use of Benzodiazepines in healthy volunteers and ambulatory patients visiting a tertiary care hospital: a cross sectional survey.

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Background: Indiscriminate prescription of Benzodiazepines in Pakistan and subsequent availability over-the-counter without prescription is a major public health problem, requiring systematic inquiry through research. Additionally, there is limited data on the awareness and use of Benzodiazepines from developing countries making it impossible to devise meaningful health policies. Methodology/Principal Findings: This was an Observational, Cross-Sectional study. conducted at Aga Khan University. A total of 475 (58.5% males, 41.5% females) people visiting a tertiary care hospital were interviewed by means of a structured questionnaire. The results showed that majority of population was aware of one or more Benzodiazepines (80.4%) and 30.4% had used them at some point in life. 42.4% of the users had been using it for more than a year. Commonest reason for use was sleep disturbance. Frequency of usage was higher for females, married individuals, educated (>Grade12), high socioeconomic status and housewives. More (59%) were prescribed than not and of them most by GP (58.5%). Only 36.5% of them were particularly told about the long-term addiction potential by the use of these drugs. Conclusion: Easy availability, access to re-fills without prescription and self prescription compounded with the lack of understanding of abuse potential of benzodiazepines constitutes a significant problem demanding serious consideration from health policy makers.


Plos One