Patient characteristics and patterns of drug use for sleep complaints in the United States: analysis of National Ambulatory Medical Survey data, 1997-2002

Clinical Therapeutics
Robert J MorlockDavid Y Mitchell


The aims of this work were to characterize ambulatory patients in the United States presenting with primary or secondary insomnia complaints and resultant diagnoses, and to describe the characteristics of patients treated with medications commonly used for sleep complaints. Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for the years 1997 through 2002 were analyzed. Data were stratified by patient characteristics, physician specialty, resulting diagnosis, and medications prescribed or provided. The unit of analysis was the individual patient visit; statistical comparisons were made using the chi(2) test for categorical variables and the Rao-Scott design-adjusted chi(2) test for comparisons of patient age groups. P<0.05 was the criterion for statistical significance. Cells containing < 30 observations were not included in the statistical analysis. The data included 147,945 patient visit records; rates of physician response to the survey ranged from 62.9% in 1999 to 70.4% in 2002. Based on this sample, it was projected that 30 million office visits involved insomnia complaints over the 6-year period from 1997 to 2002 throughout the United States. With a total of 4.9 billion physician visits projected for that time period, ...Continue Reading


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