Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 52 Number 5, 2015
   Pages 619 — 628

Abstract — Geographical diffusion of prazosin across Veterans Health Administration: Examination of regional variation in daily dosing and quality indicators among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder

Thad E. Abrams, MD, MS;1* Brian C. Lund, PharmD, MS;1 Bruce Alexander, PharmD;1 Nancy C. Bernardy, PhD;2–3 Matthew J. Friedman, MD, PhD2–4

1Center for Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research & Evaluation, Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Iowa City, IA; 2National Center for PTSD, Veterans Health Administration, White River Junction, VT; Departments of 3Psychiatry and 4Pharmacology & Toxicology, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Abstract — Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a high-priority treatment area for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and dissemination patterns of innovative, efficacious therapies can inform areas for potential improvement of diffusion efforts and quality prescribing. In this study, we replicated a prior examination of the period prevalence of prazosin use as a function of distance from the Puget Sound Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in Seattle, Washington, where prazosin was first tested as an effective treatment for PTSD and where prazosin use was previously shown to be much greater than in other parts of the United States. We tested the following three hypotheses related to prazosin geographic diffusion: (1) no geographical correlation exists between prazosin use and serotonin reuptake inhibitor/serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSRI/SNRI) use, (2) an inverse geographic correlation exists between prazosin and benzodiazepine use, and (3) a positive geographical correlation exists between the distance from Puget Sound and the proportion of users treated according to a guideline recommended minimum therapeutic target dose (>/=6 mg/d). Among a national sample of Veterans with PTSD, overall prazosin utilization increased from 5.5% to 14.8% from 2006 to 2012. During this time period, rates at the Puget Sound location declined from 34.4% to 29.9%, whereas utilization rates at locations a minimum of 2,500 miles away increased from 3.0% to 12.8%. Rates of minimum target dosing fell from 42.6% to 34.6% at the Puget Sound location. In contrast, at distances of at least 2,500 miles from Puget Sound, minimum threshold dosing rates remained stable (range: 18.6%17.7%). No discernible association was demonstrated between SSRI/SNRI or benzodiazepine utilization and the geographic distance from Puget Sound. Minimal threshold dosing of prazosin correlated positively with increased diffusion of prazosin use, but there was still a distance diffusion gradient. Although prazosin adoption has improved, geographic differences persist in both prescribing rates and minimum target dosing. Importantly, these regional disparities appear to be limited to prazosin prescribing and are not meaningfully correlated with SSRI/SNRI and benzodiazepine use as indicators of PTSD prescribing quality.

Key words: benzodiazepines, dosage, prazosin, prevalence, PTSD, PTSD treatment, quality, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, therapy dissemination, veterans.


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This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Abrams TE, Lund BC, Alexander B, Bernardy NC, Friedman MJ. Geographical diffusion of prazosin across Veterans Health Administration: Examination of regional variation in daily dosing and quality indicators among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(5):619–28.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2014.08.0200
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