Reducing Inappropriate Use of Benzodiazepines and Sedative-hypnotics Among Older Adults in Hospitals


This toolkit was created to support the implementation of interventions designed to reduce unnecessary use of benzodiazepines or other sedative-hypnotics (BSH) among older adults (age 65 and above) in your hospital. It can be used by physician groups, clinical services or organizations to help achieve significant reductions in overuse of BSH. By using the interventions mentioned in this toolkit, potentially inappropriate sedative-hypnotic prescriptions can be decreased by over 40%, without increases in prescriptions of other sedative agents.


  • Establish an interprofessional team
  • Consensus criteria for appropriate indications for BSH initiation
  • Implementing non-pharmacological strategies to promote sleep 
  • Restrictive initiation of BSH
  • Benzodiazepine and Z-Drug (BZRA) Deprescibing Algorithm
  • Measuring your performance
  • Sustaining early successes 
  • Additional Resources
  • References
Contact Person/Organization: 

Choosing Wisely Canada

Type of Tool:

Publication Date: 

RedUSe: Reducing Use of Sedatives.

Safer Prescribing in the Elderly: Focus on Antipsychotics