Triazolam use in a university medical center
Schwinghammer TL, Young BG, Hirsh JD.
Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics,
School of Pharmacy,
University of Pittsburgh, PA 15261.
Am J Hosp Pharm 1992 Dec;49(12):2939-43


The results of a drug-use evaluation (DUE) of triazolam at a university medical center are reported. The DUE was conducted at three institutions in a medical center complex with over 1100 beds. Indicators and thresholds were developed by the DUE subcommittee and approved by each institution's pharmacy and therapeutics committee. The medical charts of patients for whom triazolam was prescribed during January through March 1991 were reviewed. The relationship between the occurrence of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and triazolam use was evaluated with the Naranjo ADR probability scale. Of 192 patients whose medical charts were reviewed, 123 (64%) were prescribed 0.125-mg doses. Patients who were > 70 years of age were more likely than younger patients to be prescribed this low dose (84% versus 60%). Fifty-four patients (28%) received no doses; a median of two doses (range, 1-46) were received by the remaining 138 patients. Twelve (9%) of those 138 patients experienced ADRs considered to be possibly (n = 10) or probably (n = 2) related to triazolam. Possible triazolam-associated reactions consisted of confusion (four cases), weakness and lethargy (four), and dizziness (two); probable triazolam-associated ADRs were confusion (one case) and next-day somnolence (one). Factors potentially contributing to ADRs included the presence of concomitant diseases or medications, the total number of doses received, and patient age. Of 138 hospitalized patients who had been given one or more doses of triazolam, 12 had had possible or probable triazolam-associated ADRs. The use of low doses and short-term therapy, particularly in elderly patients, may reduce the likelihood of ADRs.
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