Comparative Risk of Harm Associated with Zopiclone or Trazodone Use in Nursing Home Residents: a Retrospective Cohort Study in Alberta, Canada
Keywords:adverse drug event, trazodone, zopiclone, cohort studies
There is growing evidence of harm associated with trazodone and nonbenzodiazepine sedative hypnotics (e.g., zopiclone); however, their comparative risk of harm is unknown.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study with linked health administrative data, which enrolled older ( ≥66 years old) nursing home residents living in Alberta, Canada, between December 1, 2009, and December 31, 2018; the last follow-up date was June 30, 2019. We compared the rate of injurious falls and major osteoporotic fractures (primary outcome) and all-cause mortality (secondary outcome) within 180 days of first prescription of zopiclone or trazodone with cause-specific hazard models and inverse probability of treatment weights to control for confounding; primary analysis was intention-to-treat and secondary analysis was per-protocol (i.e., residents censored if dispensed the other exposure drug).
Our cohort included 1,403 residents newly dispensed trazo-done and 1,599 residents newly dispensed zopiclone. At cohort entry, the mean resident age was 85.7 (standard deviation [SD] 7.4), 61.6% were female, and 81.2% had dementia. New zopi-clone use was associated with similar rates of injurious falls and major osteoporotic fractures (intention-to-treat-weighted hazard ratio 1.15, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.90-1.48; per-protocol-weighted hazard ratio 0.85, 95% CI 0.60-1.21) and all-cause mortality (intention-to-treat-weighted hazard ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.79-1.16; per-protocol-weighted hazard ratio 0.90, 95% CI 0.66-1.23) compared to trazodone.
Zopiclone was associated with a similar rate of injurious falls, major osteoporotic fractures, and all-cause mortality compared to trazodone—suggesting one medication should not be used in lieu of the other. Appropriate prescribing in-itiatives should also target zopiclone and trazodone.
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