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July 22, 1992

Regulation of Benzodiazepine Prescription

Author Affiliations

University of California, San Francisco
Public Citizen Health Research Group Washington, DC

JAMA. 1992;268(4):472-473. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490040048018

To the Editor.  —Weintraub et al1 describe their unfavorable assessment of the New York experience with triplicate prescription forms for benzodiazepines as an "independent review." As their study was funded by Hoffmann-LaRoche, Inc, Nutley, NJ, the makers of Valium and Dalmane, the authors seem ill-placed to make such a claim. Indeed, their analysis and data presentation suggest a marked lack of objectivity.The authors use graphs to depict percentage changes rather than absolute changes in numbers of prescriptions. This creates the misleading impression that increases in prescriptions for the alternative drugs might compensate for the diminution in benzodiazepine prescribing (Fig 1, reproduced from Weintraub et al1). However, Fig 2, which uses the data from Weintraub et al, illustrates that the absolute increases in the seven alternative drugs are extremely small in comparison with the decrease in benzodiazepine prescribing. In fact, the increase for these alternatives (507 000 prescriptions)