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Pharmacologic Information and the Doctor's Dilemma

RUBIN BRESSLER, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(2):251-252. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390140007001.
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The effect of patient age on choice and dose of a benzodiazepine as a hypnotic in an elderly population is discussed in this issue of the Archives by Shorr and Bauwens.1 These investigators assessed the choice of either triazolam or flurazepam hydrochloride as hypnotics by a group of hospital-based interns and residents and by attending staff physicians. The investigators concluded that the choice of drug therapy did not differ with the age of the patient, although lower doses of both drugs were prescribed more frequently to the elderly patient group. The choice of drug therapy seemed to correlate with the age of the physician and, therefore, with the time period of the physician's training. The attending staff prescribed flurazepam, which was first marketed in 1970, twice as often as did the interns. The interns, residents, and fellows prescribed triazolam, which was first marketed in 1983, around twice as often

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