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Table 2 Description of studies included in the review

From: General practitioners’ experiences and perceptions of benzodiazepine prescribing: systematic review and meta-synthesis

Title and authors Year of publication Country Aims Sample Method of data collection Method of data analysis Theoretical perspective
Anthierens et al., The lesser evil? Initiating a benzodiazepine prescription in general practice: a qualitative study on GPs’ perspectives 2007 Belgium To investigate the views of GPs on why they initiate benzodiazepine prescriptions and their views about non-medical alternatives 35 GPs from a variety of practice settings (urban/rural) 5 focus groups Focus groups were audio taped and transcribed verbatim. Analysed by 3 researchers using systematic content analysis. Themes were derived directly from the data rather than through an a priori framework. Also did deviant case analysis Phenomenological. Researchers doing the analysis were from different disciplines - psychologist, sociologist and GP
Cook et al., Physicians’ perspectives on prescribing benzodiazepines for older adults: a qualitative study 2007 USA “To understand factors influencing chronic use of benzodiazepines in older adults” (p303) 33 primary care physicians in the Philadelphia area. Sought a range of levels of experience and practice settings Semi-structured interviews Interviews were audio taped and transcribed verbatim. Coded by a multidisciplinary team. 28 were face-to-face and 5 were telephone interviews. Used narrative analysis Unclear
Damestoy et al., Prescribing psychotropic medication for elderly patients: some physicians’ perspectives 1999 Canada To explore “physicians’ perceptions and attitudes and the decision-making process associated with prescribing psychotropic medications for elderly patients” (p143) 9 physicians (from 12) who offered medical consultation in private apartment buildings for elderly people in a suburban region of Montreal Semi-structured interviews Interviews were taped and transcribed verbatim. Analysis continued until saturation was obtained for most categories. They refer to grounded theory, but there is insufficient information to confirm that they followed this perspective Principals of Grounded Theory
Dybwad et al.,
Why are some doctors high-prescribers of benzodiazepines and minor opiates? A qualitative study of GPs in Norway
1997 Norway The authors state that they aimed “to form a basis for hypotheses and build theories about prescribing, in order to investigate how high-prescribing doctors can legitimize their own prescribing pattern” (p361). 18 high-prescribing GPs and 10 medium/low prescribers Semi-structured interviews. Interviews were audio taped and transcribed verbatim and analysed by the interviewer. Codes were derived from the data rather than a priori Phenomenological
GPs completed AUDIT and estimated their own prescribing volume. Observed in the practice each interview was conducted in and did a questionnaire for respondent characteristics
Parr et al., Views of general practitioners and benzodiazepine users on benzodiazepines: a qualitative analysis 2006 Australia To gain a “more detailed understanding of perceptions relating to starting, continuing and stopping benzodiazepine use” (p1238) from the perspective of both users and GPs, and to compare the views of these groups Convenience sample of 28 GPs and 23 benzodiazepine users from a range of locations in the tropical holiday and regional centre of Cairns Semi-structured interviews Interviews were audio taped and transcribed verbatim, and notes were taken during interviews. The notes were used for 4 GPs and 2 service users s due to equipment failure. Uses the Consensual Qualitative Research Approach. The article describes the different steps, but does not label them Unclear
Rogers et al., Prescribing benzodiazepines in general practice: A new view of an old problem 2007 UK To give a brief history of the controversy surrounding benzodiazepine prescribing. To report a qualitative study of recent GP views on the use of benzodiazepines. To discuss the outcomes of this study in relation to “the general context of psychotropic drug responses to the psychosocial features of mental health problems’” (p182) Purposive sample of 22 GPs, 15 male and 7 female GPs - newly qualified practitioners and GPs who had been practicing for some time and from a variety of practice settings across one English city. Captured a range of different ages, but was a bias towards younger GPs Semi-structured interviews Interviews were taped and transcribed. Themes derived through discussion by 5 researchers, with themes being modified by reading and re-reading transcripts Unclear
Smith, General medical practitioners and community pharmacists in London: Views on the pharmacist’s role and responsibilities relating to benzodiazepines 1993 UK To investigate GP's perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of community pharmacists in relation to promoting sensible use of benzodiazepines Random sample of 22 GPs in London selected from lists held by he Family Health Service Authorities (out of 35 asked to participate) Semi-structured interviews Interviews were taped and transcribed. Data were collected and analysed using a coding frame. Unclear
Subelj et al., Prescription of benzodiazepines in Slovenian family medicine: a qualitative study 2010 Slovenia To investigate how high-prescribing family physicians explain or justify their prescribing of benzodiazepines Random sample of 5 family physicians with volumes of prescriptions larger than 4000 defined daily doses per month and 5 with volumes smaller than 2000 defined daily doses per month Semi-structured interviews Interviews were taped and transcribed verbatim. Very little information on how themes were then derived. There is a broad description on the methodology; they probably used thematic analysis but did not label it as such Unclear