Category: Federal Forum Posters
Purpose: The 2015 American Geriatrics Society Beers Criteria recommends avoiding the use of benzodiazepines (BZDs) in older adults due to the risks associated with these medications in this population. The Veteran Affairs (VA) Western New York Healthcare System established a pharmacist-managed medication taper service with the intent to reduce the number of inappropriate benzodiazepine prescriptions, particularly in elderly patients. This project assesses the efficacy of this clinic, as well as the effect of providing direct patient education about the potential harms associated with chronic BZD use in older adults.
Methods: Patients aged 65 years and older and who are prescribed a BZD for at least 90 days in the outpatient setting are sent educational materials regarding the potential harms of long-term use of BZDs. Educational documents include instructions for the patient to contact his/her prescriber to meet with the pharmacy taper clinic. Clinic pharmacists assess each patient’s BZD usage to optimize patient safety. Taper schedules are individualized with assistance from the VA Academic Detailing Service. Patients are educated during their visit about BZD withdrawal and what to do if withdrawal should occur. Outcomes of this project include the number of patients aged 65 years and older that were consulted to the BZD taper service secondary to receipt of mailed educational materials, number of those patients that met with a taper clinic pharmacist, number of patients that began the pharmacist recommended BZD taper, number of patients that successfully completed the taper, and change in the percentage of patients treated with BZDs. The primary objective of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of direct patient education and a pharmacist managed taper on the number of outpatient adults aged 65 and older prescribed a chronic BZD.
Results: Not applicable
Conclusion: Not applicable
Megan Skelly– PGY1 Pharmacy Resident, Western New York Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, West Seneca, NY