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Pharmaceutical Journal ; 308(7960), 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2065031
European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology ; 78:S130, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1955961


Introduction: Zolpidem and zopiclone are widely used for sleep disorders, yet their abuse and dependence potential has been underestimated. The electronic prescription of zolpidem/zopiclone became mandatory on 17.07.2019 in Greece. Objectives: To investigate descriptive characteristics of zolpidem/ zopiclone prescriptions and the impact of the mandatory electronic prescription mandate. Methods: Anonymized prescriptions of zopiclone (ATC: N05CF01) and/or zolpidem (ATC: NC05CF02) that were executed in pharmacies between 01.10.2018 and 01.10.2021 were obtained from the Greek nationwide prescription database. The database covers almost the entire Greek population and it is administrated by IDIKA of the Greek Ministry of Health. We investigated descriptive characteristics of prescriptions, and calculated themonthly number of prescriptions taking into consideration dates with potential impact, i.e., the date of the mandatory electronic prescription mandate (on 17.07.2019) and the date of the first case of COVID-19 in Greece (on 26.02.2020). Results and Conclusion: During the investigated period of three years, there were 1229842 executed prescriptions of zolpidem (89.4%), zopiclone (10.4%) or both (0.3%), considering 156554 unique patients. The patients weremainly elderly (73.1%were ≥ 65 years old) andwomen (64.5%). The majority of the prescription physicians (69.9%) were general practitioners or internists, followed by 17% psychiatrists or neurologists, 5.3% cardiologists, 4.5% physicians in specialty training, 1% nephrologists and 2.4% of physicians with another specialty. After the mandatory electronic prescription mandate and before COVID- 19 in Greece, i.e., between 08.2019 to 03.2020, there was a notable increase of prescriptions in comparison to the previous period from 10.2018 to 07.2019 (median 37267 vs median 34106;Mann-Whitney U=9, p-value=0.009). After COVID-19, the median monthly number of prescriptions was 36363, yet there were variations ranging from 16963 to 39956. In conclusion, the mandatory electronic prescription system could increase the surveillance of drugs with abuse potential such as zolpidem and zopiclone. Nevertheless, the large number of prescriptions in elderly patients and prescribed by primary care physicians is worrisome and warrants further investigation.