Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Antidepressant use doubles in the U.S.

The use of antidepressants in the U.S. doubled between 1996 and 2005. About 6% of people (13 million) took the pills in 1996 and this rose to 10% (27m) in 2005. There were significant increases in all demographic groups apart from African-Americans. Not only are more Americans taking the drugs the people that take them are taking more. More than 164million prescriptions were written in 2008, totalling $9.6bn in U.S. sales. Paroxetine and fluoxetine were the most commonly prescribed drugs. People taking antidepressants were more likely to be prescribed antipsychotics as well than they were in 1996. The researchers, Dr Mark Olson of Columbia University and Steven Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania thought that the increase could be due to the fact that there is now less stigma about admitting to being depressed although they noted that the increase in antidepressant use had not halted a rise in suicides among middle-aged people.

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