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Chronic use of hypnotics and anxiolytics

Chronisch gebruik van Slaap- en Kalmeringsmiddelen


On request of the Chief-Inspectorate for Mental Health in the Netherlands an overview was made on the research in the Netherlands about the use of psychotropic compounds, viz. hypnotics and anxiolytics, antidepressants and antipsychotics, and even "street drugs". A multidisciplinary studygroup consisting of researchers from various universities and institutes has provided some recent data about the use of hypnotics and anxiolytics. Studies of the University of Utrecht show that chronic use of benzodiazepines may occur in a third of all benzodiazepine users, while about 10% of the total population used benzodiazepines at least once. The percentage of users increases with increasing age, especially above the age of 60. Data of IMS over 1981- 1987 do not show any decrease in the use of these medicines. Comparison of the data with literature indicates that the percentage of users in the Netherlands is very similar to those in other Western countries.

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