Monday, May 2, 2011

Article Review: National Patterns in Antidepressant Medication Therapy

           I have chosen to read and review an article entitled National Patterns in Antidepressant Medication Treatment. This article was written by Mark Olfson, MD, MPH and Steven C. Marcus, PhD. The article was in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of General Psychiatry. This article examined the trends in antidepressant use in the years 1996 and 2005.

            Antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed class of medications in the United States, surpassing antihypertensive agents in 2005. In 2001 – 2003, 20.1% of nonelderly adults received mental health treatment each year. This was an increase from the 12.2% in 1990 – 1992. The sources of data used were the 1996 and 2005 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPs). These surveys asked for all prescribed medicines associated with each health care as well as the reason for each outpatient visit during the reference period. The reported psychotropic medications were then classified into three different classes. These classes were 1) antidepressant, anxiolytic, or antipsychotic, 2) mood stabilizers and 3) stimulants. Each of these three classes had subclasses. Between 199 and 2005, the overall annual rate of antidepressant treatment of persons 6 and older, increased from 5.84% to 10.12% per 100 persons. This translates to an increase from 13.3 million people in 1996 to 27.0 million in 2005 that are treated with antidepressants. During this period, the use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other newer antidepressants became increasingly common; whereas tricyclic antidepressants became less common. There was an increase in percentage of antidepressant users treated with antipsychotic medications, but a decrease in percentage of those who received inpatient treatment of psychotherapy. Of the persons prescribed antidepressants in 2005, 34.59% treated by psychiatrists and 7.46% treated by non psychiatrist physicians were also prescribed mood stabilizers or antipsychotic medications.

            In conclusion, there was a significant increase in the percentage of Americans prescribed antidepressants. Also, the study performed may be inaccurate due to several reasons. The data collected in the MEPs may be inaccurate. Another reason is that it is uncertain if all persons prescribed antidepressants met the criteria for diagnosis. Third, some groups of individuals such as homeless, nursing home residents, and inmates are not included in the surveys. Fourth, there may be incomplete information in the MEPs. These studies show that antidepressant therapy is becoming more accepted in the United States. It also shows that there is more focus on pharmacological treatment rather than psychological care.

Works Cited

  Olfson, M., & Marcus, S. (2009; 66 (8)). National Patterns in Antidepressant Medication Treatment. General Psychiatry , 848-856.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.