Focus on: Antidepressant prescribing

This report examines the trends in antidepressant prescribing in English primary care from 1998 to 2012.

Focus On: Antidepressant prescribing by Ruth Spence, Adam RobertsCono Ariti and Dr Martin Bardsley, examines long-term trends in antidepressant prescribing and explores the impact of the financial crisis and subsequent recession on antidepressant prescribing by GPs.

It's striking that GPs were prescribing an extra 2.7 million antidepressants in 2012, compared to the trend we saw during the years of economic growth Adam Roberts, Senior Research Analyst and report co-author, Nuffield Trust

The study shows that between 1998 and 2012, the amount of antidepressants dispensed in the community each year rose by 25 million – from 15 million items in 1998, to 40 million in 2012. Almost half of that increase occurred in the four years between the 2008 financial crisis and 2012, the last year for which data are available.

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The research is published as the fifth in the Focus On series of reports, published as part of the QualityWatch programme. 

Suggested citation

Spence R, Roberts A, Ariti C and Bardsley M (2014) Focus on: Antidepressant prescribing. Research report. Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation.