The University of Queensland, Australia
May 21, 2010
Older Australians are being overprescribed medications for depression, according to a study by University of Queensland researchers published today in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.
Dr Samantha Hollingworth, Senior Research Fellow at the School of of Population Health, said the study found very high prescribing rates in older Australians, especially those over 85 years old despite national mental health data indicating that depression and anxiety was a decreasing problem in this age group.
“While the under 50s have a higher prevalence of depression and anxiety, it is the over 85s who are receiving the most medication,” Dr Hollingworth said.
The study found that the prevalence and treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders are highest in those aged under 50, after which it declines rapidly. There are peaks in prescribing of antidepressants in those aged in their late 50s and early 90s, with the highest use in those aged 90-94 years.
Co-author, Professor Harvey Whiteford, Kratzmann Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health with the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, said it appeared older Australians were receiving antidepressant medications for reasons other than the treatment of conditions for which these drugs have marketing approval, or for depressive and anxiety symptoms that do not reach the threshold for a diagnosis.
Read entire article: http://www.uq.edu.au/news/?article=21193