Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New study sheds light on prescribing patterns

In the U.S. the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has been looking into the prescription of psychiatric drugs such as antipsychotics, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. The study used data from the 2005 National Disease and Therapeutic Index, a national sample of around 4,000 doctors carried out by IMS health. It found that antipsychotic drugs were only actually used for schizophrenia/psychosis just over a third (35%) of the time and were actually used more often (39%) to treat mood disorders. The drugs - which can have serious side effects - were also used to treat dementia (7.4%), anxiety (6%) and ADHD (6%). Antidepressants were mostly used to treat mood disorders (65%) but they were also used to treat anxiety (16%) and schizophrenia/psychosis (2.6%). 28% of prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs were used for non-psychiatric problems including anxiety related to medical treatment (6%), allergic reactions (4%) and back problems (2.5%).

You can find out more about this study at


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