By the Numbers: 16 April 2018

By the Numbers: 16 April 2018

By The Numbers graphic


The percentage of 493,683 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans (IAVs) who received VA care in FY 2013 and FY 2014 who were prescribed zolpidem in FY 2014, according to a recent article in PLoS ONE -- Patterns of zolpidem use among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans: A retrospective cohort analysis.

Women had lower odds of high-dose zolpidem exposure than men. The majority (77.3%) of IAVs who received zolpidem prescriptions had long-term use with an average days’ supply of 189.3 days and a minority (0.9%) had high-dose exposure. In multivariable analyses, factors associated with long-term zolpidem exposure included age greater than 29 years old, PTSD, insomnia, Selim Index, physical 2–3 conditions, opioids, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, atypical antipsychotics, and stimulants. High dose exposure was associated with PTSD, depression, substance use disorder, insomnia, benzodiazepines, atypical antipsychotics, and stimulant prescriptions.

According to the researchers:

The current practices of insomnia pharmacotherapy in IAVs fall short of the clinical guidelines and may reflect high-risk zolpidem prescribing practices that put Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans at risk for adverse effects of zolpidem and poor health outcomes.