Navigation Links
Americans' Use of Antidepressants On the Rise: Study
Date:8/4/2011

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Americans are popping more antidepressants than ever before to deal with everyday stress, and non-psychiatrists are increasingly willing to prescribe the drugs to patients with no mental health diagnosis, a new study finds.

Antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil and Lexapro are now the third most widely prescribed group of drugs in the United States, and many people may take them for minor complaints without being fully aware of potential risks, the researchers said.

"Both consumers and prescribers of antidepressants should be more knowledgeable about the indications (or symptoms) that antidepressants are better for," said study lead author Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, an associate professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. "Although these drugs do not have many acute side effects, there may be more long-term adverse effects."

The study authors said the increases don't necessarily mean that the drugs are being used inappropriately, but it's necessary to understand why antidepressant use is growing and, if necessary, to develop policies that ensure patients get the most effective treatment.

Using data from annual surveys by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the researchers reviewed the records of 233,144 adult patients who made doctor visits between 1996 and 2007.

The study, published in the August issue of Health Affairs, found that the percentage of prescriptions for antidepressants written by non-psychiatrists more than doubled from about 4 percent to almost 9 percent over the 12-year period.

This included 9,454 antidepressant prescriptions for patients without a diagnosis of depression or other mental illness typically treated with the medication. For that group, the rate jumped from 2.5 percent at the start of the study period to 6.4 percent, the researchers said.

The study cautioned that a psychiatric diagnosis could have been made in some cases, but simply wasn't noted in the records studied.

By contrast, prescriptions for antidepressants for patients with diagnoses such as major or chronic depression increased by 44 percent, a much smaller increase.

About 4,000 patients who did have a mental health diagnosis received the drugs from non-psychiatrists in the study period.

The drugs prescribed to patients without a diagnosed mental health condition were more likely provided to white women between the ages of 35-64 and patients with public insurance and chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. The data also suggested that people complaining of nervousness, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction and an inability to quit smoking may be taking antidepressants, the study said.

Americans are turning to drugs to deal with everyday stress more frequently as the stigma of using antidepressants decreases, said Mojtabai, noting more than 10 percent of Americans now take antidepressants in any given year.

Direct marketing to consumers and reports of fewer side effects may help explain why patients and doctors are more open to antidepressants, he said.

But there may be consequences to that choice.

Some research has shown that withdrawal from antidepressants after many years "is not pleasant," said Mojtabai, who added that a possible link to diabetes has also been found. Not enough is known about how their use plays out in the long term, said Mojtabai.

"Pharmaceutical companies aren't interested in long-term effects because they don't need that for FDA approval," said Mojtabai, referring to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which approves drugs for use in the United States.

Another expert agreed that Americans are turning more to prescribed pills to deal with the ups and downs of life, but he noted that in the past, alcohol and other drugs served the same purpose.

"Before antidepressants came along, many people simply turned to drinking and smoking to cope with minor stress," said Tony Tang, adjunct professor in the department of psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Although the study did not "solve the mystery" of why antidepressant prescriptions are increasing, it showed "how antidepressants are actually used in the real world," and on a "national scale," said Tang.

Doctors are likely more aware today of the symptoms of depression, which has "increased substantially in the past decade," he said.

More information

To learn more about depression, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore; Tony Tang, Ph.D., adjunct professor, department of psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.; August 2011, Health Affairs


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
2. Majority of Americans Approve of President Obamas Handling of Afghanistan and National Security But Disapprove of Handling of Economic Issues, Per Franklin & Marshall College Poll With Hearst Television
3. 57 Million Americans Sickened by H1N1 Flu: CDC
4. One in Ten Americans Visited a Health Insurance Site in Q4 2009
5. Most Americans Think Its Others Who Are Unhealthy
6. Americans Recognize Risk of Fire to Older Adults
7. County-By-County Report Sizes Up Americans Health
8. Americans Falling Short on Heart-Healthy Fruits and Vegetables
9. Rising Use of Medical Technologies Extending Americans Lives
10. “Hearts and Minds” Education Program Launched: On Average, People with Mental illness Live 25 Years Less than Other Americans
11. African-Americans attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Americans' Use of Antidepressants On the Rise: Study
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Textile Exchange is excited to ... public stakeholder review. The stakeholder review is an important opportunity for interested parties to ... delivers value to the wool industry., The RWS is intended to be a global ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Florida Hospital Pepin ... atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) an alternative to long-term warfarin medication with the newly approved ... April of 2015, Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute doctors successfully implanted the Watchman ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Spring Fertility , the only ... with egg freezing, today announced the grand opening of its first location in ... Spring Fertility offers both fertility preservation (egg, sperm, embryo, and testicular and ovarian ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Jose (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... art of self-love. Every day, LELO fans reach out via email, social media and ... question keeps upcoming up: “Is the way I masturbate ‘normal’ or ‘correct’?” , While ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Every year 220 Mississippi ... wishes of these children. The wishes provide hope and motivation through positive ... of Make-A-Wish Mississippi, Brent Wilson said, “In 2016, the organization will grant 50% ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)... 2016  Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ... Brian Lortie , President, U.S. Branded Pharmaceuticals, has ... the appointment of a successor. Mr. Lortie joined ... business with responsibility for all strategic, commercial and ... portfolio development, commercial operations, managed markets, manufacturing, supply ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Calif. , May 5, 2016  Diagnostic ... a decade due to concerns that these tests ... the approach to imaging, as well as the ... new era of medical peripherals that help health care providers ...   Ampronix  advanced medical imaging is a renowned authorized ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... , May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the  "Europe ... - 2016"  report to their offering.  ... ) , ,The latest research ... Highlights - 2016, provides comprehensive insights ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: