Scientific article
Publication Date
Published by / Citation
Marti J, Bachhuber M, Feingold J, et al. Financial incentives to discontinue long-term benzodiazepine use: a discrete choice experiment investigating patient preferences and willingness to participate. BMJ Open 2017;7:e016229. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-016229
Original Language


financial incentives

Financial Incentives to Discontinue Long-Term Benzodiazepine Use


Objectives: Investigate the acceptability of financial incentives for initiating a medically supervised benzodiazepine discontinuation programme among people with long-term benzodiazepine use and to identify programme features that influence willingness to participate.

Methods: We conducted a discrete choice experiment in which we presented a variety of incentive-based programmes to a sample of older adults with long-term benzodiazepine use identified using the outpatient electronic health record of a university-owned health system. We studied four programme variables: incentive amount for initiating the programme, incentive amount for successful benzodiazepine discontinuation, lottery versus certain payment and whether partial payment was given for dose reduction. Respondents reported their willingness to participate in the programmes and additional information was collected on demographics, history of use and anxiety symptoms.

Results: The overall response rate was 28.4%. Among the 126 respondents, all four programme variables influenced stated preferences. Respondents strongly preferred guaranteed cash-based incentives as opposed to a lottery, and the dollar amount of both the starting and conditional incentives had a substantial impact on choice. Willingness to participate increased with the amount of conditional incentive. Programme participation also varied by gender, duration of use and income.

Conclusions: Participation in an incentive-based benzodiazepine discontinuation programme might be relatively low, but is modifiable by programme variables including incentive amounts. These results will be helpful to inform the design of future trials of benzodiazepine discontinuation programmes. Further research is needed to assess the financial viability and potential cost-effectiveness of such economic incentives.

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