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Keywords:

  • Benzodiazepines;
  • China;
  • major depressive disorder;
  • prescribing patterns

Purpose

There have been no data about long-term benzodiazepine (BZD) use and its correlates in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) in China. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of long-term BZD use (more than three months) and its demographic and clinical correlates in Chinese patients with MDD.

Design and Methods

A total of 1,192 patients with MDD were examined in 10 mental health centers in China. Patients' socio-demographic and clinical characteristics and prescriptions for psychotropic drugs were recorded using a standardized form.

Findings

A large portion of patients (36.2%) received long-term BZD treatment. Univariate analyses revealed that long-term BZD users were older, poorer, and had more impaired occupational functioning than patients not taking BZDs. Long-term BZD users had fewer psychotic symptoms and took less antipsychotic drugs. In multivariate analyses, long-term BZD use was independently associated with older age and more severe impaired occupational functioning; long-term BZD users were less likely to receive antipsychotic medications and traditional antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants, tetracyclic antidepressant, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors).

Practice Implications

Long-term BZD use was common in patients with MDD in China. A host of demographic and clinical factors were independently associated with long-term BZD use.