Patient letter

Letter for family doctors to post to their patients

Please download and adapt this letter to your practice setting. The letter can be used by primary care doctors to advise patients about reducing or stopping sedative-hypnotic medications. Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of this type of letter. For example, Morgan et al. demonstrated that 31% of patients who received a letter like this discussed their medication with their physician, 17% reduced the medication and 5% discontinued. Gorgels et al. demonstrated that 26% of the patients who received a letter reduced their benzodiazepine consumption 21 months after receiving the letter. 

This letter is an amended version of the letters used in:

  • Cormack MA, Sweeney KG, Hughes-Jones H, Foot GA. Evaluation of an easy, cost-effective strategy for cutting benzodiazepine use in general practice. The British Journal of General Practice. 1994;44(378):5

  • Heather N, Bowie A, Ashton H, et al. Randomised controlled trial of two brief interventions against long-term benzodiazepine use: outcome of intervention. Addiction Research & Theory 2004;12:141-54

  • Morgan JD, Wright DJ, Chrystyn H. Pharmacoeconomic evaluation of a patient education letter aimed at reducing long-term prescribing of benzodiazepines.  Pharm World Sci 2002 Dec;24(6):231-5.

  • Prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice, Part B – Benzodiazepines. Melbourne: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2015.