HealthDay News — According to a study published in Scientific Reports, historical preference for a certain medication is highly predictive of future prescribing behavior in treatment of insomnia.

Andrew Beam, PhD, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed the medical records, including clinical notes, of 1105 insomnia patients. 

The medications the researchers focused on were zolpidem and trazodone. 


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The researchers found that a doctor who prescribed a particular insomnia medication in the past was 3 times as likely to continue prescribing the same drug.


Patients with symptoms of depression in addition to insomnia were a little more likely than those without depression to receive a prescription for trazodone.

“Our results illuminate the notion that just as everyone else, many physicians are creatures of habit who tend to rely on cognitive shortcuts in their decision-making,” Beam said in a Harvard news release.

Reference

Beam AL, et al. “Predictive Modeling Of Physician-Patient Dynamics That Influence Sleep Medication Prescriptions And Clinical Decision-Making”. Scientific Reports. 2017;7(42282). doi: 10.1038/srep42282 [Epub ahead of print]

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