Category: Federal Forum Posters
Purpose: Benzodiazepines are highly addictive medications, and when used long term, can contribute to worsening anxiety, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder, all conditions commonly affecting veterans. Additionally, when prescribed concurrently with opioids, benzodiazepines increase the risk of overdose. The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a pharmacist managed outpatient benzodiazepine taper clinic, established in October 2017 and solely managed by the facility Behavioral Health Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, in reducing the use of benzodiazepines among veterans.
Methods: Using the electronic medical record, patients will be identified for inclusion by selecting all veterans prescribed a benzodiazepine by the facility Behavioral Health Clinical Pharmacy Specialist or referred to the Behavioral Health Clinical Pharmacy Specialist for benzodiazepine taper consult. All patients enrolled in the benzodiazepine taper clinic between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018 will be reviewed. Through retrospective chart review, the following information will be collected for each veteran: age, gender, indication for benzodiazepine, benzodiazepine daily dose prior to referral to benzodiazepine taper clinic (in diazepam milligram equivalents), benzodiazepine daily dose following discharge from benzodiazepine taper clinic (or current daily dose if still enrolled), duration of enrollment in benzodiazepine taper clinic, number of appointments per veteran, and whether veteran was concurrently prescribed another central nervous system depressant. Additionally, investigators will attempt to quantify anxiety before and after enrollment for each veteran. Data will be analyzed to determine the reduction in benzodiazepine use by calculating average benzodiazepine daily dose reduction and determining the percentage of veterans able to taper off benzodiazepines completely. Data will be recorded without patient identifiers. Approval will be sought from the facility Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee.
Results: Not applicable
Conclusion: Not applicable
Mary Mikeson– Resident Pharmacist, Montana VA Health Care System, Helena, MT