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Long-term effectiveness of computer-generated tailored patient education on benzodiazepines: a randomized controlled trial

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Chronic benzodiazepine use is highly prevalent and is associated with a variety of negative health consequences. The present study examined the long-term effectiveness of a tailored patient education intervention on benzodiazepine use. Design 

A randomized controlled trial was conducted comprising three arms, comparing (i) a single tailored intervention; (ii) a multiple tailored intervention and (iii) a general practitioner letter. The post-test took place after 12 months. Participants 

Five hundred and eight patients using benzodiazepines were recruited by their general practitioners and assigned randomly to one of the three groups. Intervention 

Two tailored interventions, the single tailored intervention (patients received one tailored letter) and the multiple tailored intervention (patients received three sequential tailored letters at intervals of 1 month), were compared to a short general practitioner letter that modelled usual care. The tailored interventions not only provided different and more information than the general practitioner letter; they were also personalized and adapted to individual baseline characteristics. The information in both tailored interventions was the same, but in the multiple tailored intervention the information was provided to the participants spread over three occasions. In the multiple tailored intervention, the second and the third tailored letters were based on short and standardized telephone interviews. Measurements 

Benzodiazepine cessation at post-test was the outcome measure. Findings 

The results showed that participants receiving the tailored interventions were twice as likely to have quit benzodiazepine use compared to the general practitioner letter. Particularly among participants with the intention to discontinue usage at baseline, both tailored interventions led to high percentages of those who actually discontinued usage (single tailored intervention 51.7%; multiple tailored intervention 35.6%; general practitioner letter 14.5%). Conclusions 

It was concluded that tailored patient education can be an effective tool for reducing benzodiazepine use, and can be implemented easily.
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Keywords: Benzodiazepines; computer; computer-tailored patient education; health promotion; intervention; randomized controlled trial; tailoring

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 2: Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Leiden University, the Netherlands, 3: Department of Medical Decision-Making, Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands, 4: Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leiden University Medical Centre, the Netherlands and 5: Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands

Publication date: 01 April 2008

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