Physician and patient determinants of pharmacologic treatment of sleep difficulties in outpatient settings in the United States

Rajesh Balkrishnan, Rafia S. Rasu, Rukmini Rajagopalan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: This study analyzed patient and physician characteristics associated with physicians' choice of medication treatment for sleep difficulties in a nationally representative sample of outpatient physician visits in the United States. Design: Cross-sectional study of nationally representative survey data. Setting: Outpatient settings in the United States. Patients or Participants: Patients aged 18 years or older with sleep difficulty. Interventions: None. Measurements and Results: The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data from 1996 to 2001 were utilized. The study found that approximately 4.8 billion visits were made to outpatient physician offices in the United States, and 94.6 million of these were visits related to sleep difficulties. Visits by established patients, compared with visits by new patients, were associated with an increased prescription of some type of pharmacotherapy (odds ratio: 1.92, 95% confidence interval: 1.35-2.73). Patient visits with public insurance, as compared with private insurance, as a primary payer source were associated with increased benzodiazepine prescriptions among patients receiving pharmacotherapy (odds ratio: 1.66, 95% confidence interval: 1.13-2.45). Visits by patients aged 65 years and older, as compared with those by patients aged 18 to 34 (reference group)., had almost two times increased odds of being associated with a benzodiazepine prescription (odds ratio: 1.89, 95% confidence interval: 1.13-3.14) among patient visits receiving pharmacotherapy. Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that several patient and physician characteristics influence physician prescribing of pharmacologic treatments for sleep difficulties. The study also finds variations in pharmaceutical treatment for sleep difficulties in outpatient settings in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-719
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2005


  • Ambulatory care
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Drug therapy
  • Sleep initiation and maintenance disorders
  • Therapy


Dive into the research topics of 'Physician and patient determinants of pharmacologic treatment of sleep difficulties in outpatient settings in the United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this