Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Appetite for anti-depressants?

How about this for a figure: over 1 in 10 people living in Scotland are taking an anti-depressant on a daily basis, excluding prescriptions dispensed to hospital inpatients. The number one prescribed antidepressant was citalopram taken by 3.2% of the population daily.

I read this on the BBC website following the publication of an audit on the prescribing of medicines used in mental health by NHS Scotland and the Information Services Division of the Scottish Parliament (full report available here). The data comes one day after my last post on the rise and rise of mental ill-health over physical ill-health.

There are a few other interesting details from the collected data including:

  • A growth in the prescription of drugs targeting the symptoms of ADHD; up 3.8% in one financial year. Methylphenidate tops the league of prescriptions, taken by 5,838 children in Scotland daily in 2010/2011.
  • A growth in antipsychotics and antimanic prescriptions; up 3.9% in one year. The number one dispensed antipsychotic was quetiapine.
  • A modest estimated rise in the prescribing of anxiolytics and hypnotics; up 0.3% in one year.

A spokesman for the Scottish Labour party, Dr Richard Simpson MSP describes the figures for antidepressant prescriptions as 'extremely troubling'. I perhaps would tend to agree. The question is: what do we do about it?