Benzodiazepine Awareness Day

BE-SAFE project engages in actions to reduce benzodiazepine use in older populations.

[Belgium, Europe] - On July 11, the world will unite to observe Benzodiazepine Awareness Day. This event aims to raise awareness on the risk of the use of sleeping pills in older adults.

The BE-SAFE project is a European-funded initiative that uses a proven knowledge to reduce the use of sleeping pills. It aims at improving the safety and quality of patient care. To do so, the project gathers medical experts and healthcare professionals from different domains, patients and other caregivers to focus on the patient’s needs and priorities.

Why benzodiazepines?

Healthcare professionals prescribe benzodiazepines and sedative-hypnotics to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, among other health problems. Although their use may relieve sleep problems on a short-term, their long-term use is problematic. Many studies demonstrated associated risks such as dependence, falls and cognitive impairment.

However, a large proportion of older adults use benzodiazepines for sleep disorders in Europe. BE-SAFE’s first results based on reviews of existing literature, and a survey and interviews with key actors confirm the necessity to help healthcare professionals and patients with sleep problems reduce the use of benzodiazepines. The authors will publish new key findings in the upcoming months.  The BE-SAFE project therefore joins the initiative .

""Deprescribing benzodiazepines is a complex process that requires a multidimensional approach," says Prof Anne Spinewine, a renowned expert and BE-SAFE project coordinator of the Université catholique de Louvain. "Our project will provide both healthcare professionals and patients with the necessary tools to reduce, and hopefully stop, using sleeping medication. By raising awareness and collaborating with all actors in this project, we can improve the quality of life of older adults.".

As part of Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, the BE-SAFE consortium appeals to healthcare professionals, healthcare decision-makers, and the public to engage in open dialogue, promote education and awareness, and advocate for safer and more patient-centered approaches to manage sleep problems among older adults. BE-SAFE will work to create the best conditions to join all stakeholders in the next years. BE-SAFE will inform on new activities and updates through its website and newsletter.

BE-SAFE in a nutshell

The BE-SAFE project is targeting patient safety by addressing knowledge and practice gaps related to the reduction of medications used for sleep problems in Europe. Experts and patients are involved to promote an interdisciplinary and inter-sectorial approach. BE-SAFE is a European research project funded by the European Commission Horizon programme under the work programme HORIZON-HLTH-2021-CARE-05-01: Enhancing quality of care and patient safety) and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) (contract No 22.00116). The project duration will be from 2022 to 2027.


Press contact

Prof. Anne Spinewine

Laura Fernández Maldonado

Project coordinator
Université catholique de Louvain, Bruxelles, Belgium

Communication Coordinator
Fundació Salut I Envelliment, Barcelona, Spain


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