In France, the implementation of new prescribing rules for the sedative-hypnotic drug zolpidem led to an important and immediate decrease in use. This decline was partially compensated for by a rise in the use of a nonbenzodiazepine drug called zopiclone. In 2017, French health authorities made it mandatory to use a secure prescribing form for zolpidem, which is a popular insomnia drug in France and one of the drugs most involved in falsified prescribing and diversion. A time-series analysis of national prescription drug reimbursement records from 2015 to 2018 shows the positive impact of France's regulations, with prescribing of zolpidem cut in half when comparing rates before and after the policy change. Nearly equal and opposite increases in zopiclone were seen during this same time period. The change in prescribing policies resulted in a shift to the alternative drug zopiclone--a trend that has been seen amongst prescribing restriction efforts, including restrictions on benzodiazepines.
Impact of Secured Prescription Implementation for Zolpidem on Hypnotics Use in France: A Time-Series Analysis on National Data
Nicolas Rousselot, MD, MSc, et al
University of Bordeaux, Department of General Practice, Bordeaux, France