The Committee on Safety of Medicines, whose recommendation to limit benzodiazepine prescribing has had little effect, might do well to follow New York's lead, says the Lancet.
Like narcotics and barbiturates, benzodiazepines have recently joined the list of "controlled" substances requiring triplicate prescriptions. Every time one is written, copies get distributed to the NY Department of Health, the pharmacist and the prescriber. Unless approved otherwise, prescriptions must be limited to a 30 day supply.
Although one disgruntled correspondent wrote in to complain that some doctors are getting round the law by prescribing older, more dangerous substitutes for tranks, the raw statistics are impressive. Since the advent of the triplicate prescription in the beginning of l989, benzodiazepine prescriptions fell by 27-53 per cent. Emergency hospital admissions due to overdoses also fell by about 40 per cent.