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Antidepressants prescribed in England on the rise, official data shows

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Antidepressants prescribed in England on the rise, official data shows

Around 21.2 million antidepressant drugs were prescribed in England between April and June this year, according to the latest official figures.

Data released by the NHS Business Services Authority reveals that was a 1.17 per cent increase, equating to around 200,000 more items, compared with the 21 million items prescribed in the previous quarter. It was also a 3.58 per cent rise on the 20.5 million items prescribed between April and June 2020-21.

Data was also available for other drugs. Central nervous system stimulants and drugs used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased by 6.82 per cent, with around 604,000 items prescribed between April and June this year compared with 566,000 in the previous quarter. It was also an 18.7 per cent rise on the 509,000 items prescribed during the same quarter in 2020-21.

The number of patients who received at least one hypnotic and anxiolytic item between July 2021 and June 2022 was 686,000, a 1.46 per cent drop from the 696,000 monthly patients between July 2020 to June 2021.

Around 14 million hypnotics and anxiolytics were prescribed between July 2021 and June this year, a 1.65 per cent decrease from the 14.2 million items prescribed between July 2020 to June last year.

Over 3.3 million antipsychotic items were prescribed in the first quarter of the 2022-23 financial year, a 1.46 per cent rise on the 3.27 million items during the same period a year ago. The NHSBSA said antipsychotic prescribing has been increasing since 2017-18, with 396,000 more items prescribed during the first quarter of 2022-23 compared with the same period in 2017-18.

Around 1.04 million dementia drugs were prescribed during the first quarter of 2022-23, a 4.13 per cent increase on the 997,000 items during the same period a year ago. The prescribing of dementia drugs has also been on the increase since 2017-18, with 94,900 more items prescribed in the first quarter of 2022-23 compared with the same period in 2017-18.

The data also showed around 234,000 patients were prescribed at least one dementia drug in the first quarter of 2022-23, a 4.62 per cent drop from the 224,000 patients during the same period in 2021-22.

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