To estimate the hospitalisation costs of accidental fall injuries in the EU resulting from the use of benzodiazepines.
Risk and exposure data were obtained from the Dutch Pharmo system, a population-based register of drug-dispensing records and hospital records. The population attributable risk (PAR) was calculated using the age-specific prevalence estimates of benzodiazepine use and the corresponding relative risk (RR), obtained from a case-control study in community-dwelling inhabitants over 55 years of age in defined areas of The Netherlands covering the period 1985–2000. Annual hospitalisation costs of benzodiazepine-related fall injuries were based on the age-specific PARs and extrapolated to the European population using accident and demographic data of the EU. All analyses were performed from the perspective of a third-party payer.
Fall injuries in the study population were significantly associated with benzodiazepine use (RR 1.6, 95% CI 1.4–1.7), especially in those aged over 85 years (RR 3.6, 95% CI 2.9–4.5). The total annual hospital direct medical costs in 2000 of fall-related injuries attributable to benzodiazepine use were €1.8 billion (95% CI €1.5-2.2 billion) in the EU.
The estimated costs of hospitalisations of accidental-fall injuries related to benzodiazepine use in the EU varied between €1.5 and €2.2 billion each year. More than 90% of these costs were in the elderly, with hip fractures as the major contributor. Discontinuing benzodiazepines in the elderly and/or substituting them with other drugs not associated with the risk of falls in the elderly will to a large extent prevent these accidents.
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We thank all pharmacists, medical specialists and staff members of the hospitals participating in the Pharmo system.
This study was supported by an unrestricted grant from Pfizer International, New York, USA.
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Panneman, M.J.M., Goettsch, W.G., Kramarz, P. et al. The Costs of Benzodiazepine-Associated Hospital-Treated Fall Injuries in the EU: A Pharmo Study. Drugs Aging 20, 833–839 (2003). https://doi.org/10.2165/00002512-200320110-00004
- Community Pharmacy
- Population Attributable Risk
- Total Treatment Cost
- Hospital Discharge Record
- Fall Injury