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An audit of prescribing practices for benzodiazepines and Z-drugs.Concerns persist over the use of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in Ireland. A prospective prescription audit was conducted in 81 community pharmacies across Ireland over a four week period. The study sought to assess the level of prescription compliance with key components of benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing guidelines. 28% of audit booklets issued were returned, yielding data on 4,418 prescriptions. The findings suggest that little progress has been made in improving the prescribing of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs in Ireland in the decade since publication of the Benzodiazepine Committee's report. Fewer than one fifth of prescriptions (18.8%) were fully compliant with the assessment criteria and the majority (53.7%) had multiple discrepancies. This study highlights the importance of monitoring and auditing benzodiazepine and Z-drug prescribing practices. Interventions involving patients, prescribers and pharmacists are required to improve the prescribing and use of these medications in Ireland.