Forty percent of women and 20 percent of men with severe depression take antidepressants, as well as more than one-third of women and less than one-fifth of men with moderate depression, the results showed.
Among all adults, those aged 40 and older and more likely to take antidepressants than younger people. There were no significant differences between women and men in the length of use of antidepressants.
Fourteen percent of white people take antidepressants, compared with 4 percent of blacks and 3 percent of Mexican Americans. The researchers found no association between income and antidepressant use.
About 8 percent of Americans aged 12 and older without current depressive symptoms took antidepressants. This may include those taking the drugs for reasons other than depression and those taking the drugs for depression who are being treated successfully and do not currently have depressive symptoms, Laura Pratt and colleagues at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics explained in the October NCHS Data Brief.
According to Olupona, "these medications can be effective for treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and some other disorders," but it is best when the patients receive "careful follow-up to manage efficacy, drug-drug interactions, side effects, medication compliance and a host of other medication management issues."
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about antidepressants.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 19, 2011; Tolu Olupona, M.D., assistant clinical professor, pediatrics and psychiatry, Mount
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