According to new research, COPD sufferers in Norway are prescribed more sedatives than psychiatric patients, which may pose health problems to patients.

The results were published recently in an article in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and highlight the use of benzodiazepine sedatives among COPD patients.

“We find that large amounts of sedatives are prescribed to this group of patients”, says Thomas Halvorsen, who is a health services researcher at SINTEF, adding that the disease is physically very stressful to live with.

The study was carried out in close collaboration with the former SINTEF researcher Pål Erling Martinussen, who is now an associate professor at NTNU. Together, they conclude that the amount of benzodiazepines prescribed to this group of patients is surprisingly high.

The results from their study indicate that as many as 69 per cent of COPD sufferers are taking these addictive medications. Women are prescribed approximately 25 per cent more of these drugs than their fellow male patients.

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