The flunitrazepam abuse prevention program at a general hospital in Taiwan: A descriptive study *


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Abstract

The Bureau of Controlled Drugs at Ministry of Health, Executive Yuan in Taiwan announced, on 1 April 2000, the schedules of controlled drugs with abuse potential and implemented a policy on 1 October 2000 to control them. Flunitrazepam (FM2), along with other two benzodiazepines (triazolam and brotizolam), is placed on Schedule III. The aim of the present study was to analyze the pattern of flunitrazepam prescriptions across all medical subspecialty departments at Taipei Medical University-Wan Fang Hospital (TMU-WFH), Taiwan. We analyzed 1170 prescriptions over 12 month period from 1 July 2000 to 31 May 2001. All prescription data were divided into three 4 month periods: period I was when the flunitrazepam prescription was not controlled, period II represented the time when flunitrazepam was placed on Schedule III and when physicians were required to use a special duplicated prescription form and period III was when the TMU-WFH started to set a stricter control for the prescription of flunitrazepam. The results indicated that the number of flunitrazepam prescriptions during period III had decreased significantly compared with period I (P≤ 0.05). Eventually, 45.7% of flunitrazepam-medicated patients were followed up monthly with a restriction of their flunitrazepam supply to no more than 14 days, 22.9% of patients were followed up fortnightly at clinics with a 14 day supply of flunitrazepam, 15.7% were followed up fortnightly with a 14 day restriction of flunitrazepam plus a non-flunitrazepan benzodiazepine supplement, 10.7% were referred to clinics within the Department of Psychiatry and 5% were switched from flunitrazepam to other drugs.

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