Purpose: Antidepressant drug use increases worldwide. It is pivotal to closely monitor the use of antidepressants and to determine in what subpopulations the rise is most substantial. In a Dutch primary care database, we aimed to investigate the (sex- and age-specific) prevalence and incidence of antidepressant prescription and to monitor the indication of incident prescriptions over a 17-year period (1996-2012). Methods: This study, embedded in the Integrated Primary Care Information database, included all patients aged 10 years or older. Per calendar year, prevalence and incidence of antidepressant drug prescription were calculated by drug class (tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and others), sex, and age. The indication of incident prescriptions (e.g., depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and neuropathic pain) was determined based on the International Classification of Primary Care codes. Results: In total, 1.49 million patients were included. For all antidepressants together, the prevalence increased over time. However, incident prescription of specific SSRIs decreased from 2000 onward. During the study period, incidence and prevalence were higher in older and female patients. The increase in prevalence and the decrease in incidence were more pronounced in females than that in males. Furthermore, antidepressants were increasingly prescribed for indications such as neuropathic pain and sleep disorders. Conclusions: In Dutch primary care, prevalent prescription of antidepressants continued to increase, but incident prescription of particular SSRIs decreased from 2000 onward. In later years, antidepressants were less frequently prescribed for depression-related indications in incident users.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Antidepressive agents, Incidence, Population surveillance, Prevalence
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00228-014-1803-x, hdl.handle.net/1765/80160
Journal European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Noordam, R, Aarts, N, Verhamme, K.M.C, Sturkenboom, M.C.J.M, Stricker, B.H.Ch, & Visser, L.E. (2015). Prescription and indication trends of antidepressant drugs in the Netherlands between 1996 and 2012: A dynamic population-based study. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (Vol. 71, pp. 369–375). doi:10.1007/s00228-014-1803-x