Specialty training and the personal use of benzodiazepines by physicians affect their proneness to prescribe tranquilizers.

The decision on how to treat a patient does not depend on clinical matters or illness characteristics alone, but also on patient, physician and setting variables such as personality, training, or reimbursement. No research has yet been carried out to answer the question whether personal experience with medications also influences prescribing behavior. In this study, 124 physicians stratified according to specialty (neuropsychiatrists vs. general practitioners), type of institution (private practice vs. hospital), years of professional experience (young vs. old), and region (rural vs. urban) participated in a structured interview to evaluate their proneness to prescribe benzodiazepines for sleep disorders as well as their personal experience in taking benzodiazepines for their own sleep problems. Both specialty and personal experience were significantly related to proneness to prescribe. Other variables tested (region, institution, age, gender) did not help to explain the variance in benzodiazepine prescribing practice. Thus physician variables and, importantly, their own personal experience in taking the medication significantly influence treatment choice. Rational medical decision making and treatment guidelines must therefore take into account medical knowledge as well as knowledge of personal treatment preferences and professional biases.
AuthorsM Linden, H Gothe
JournalPharmacopsychiatry (Pharmacopsychiatry) Vol. 31 Issue 2 Pg. 42-7 (Mar 1998) ISSN: 0176-3679 [Print] GERMANY
PMID9562207 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurology
  • Patients
  • Physicians
  • Psychiatry
  • Rural Population
  • Specialization
  • Urban Population

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