4329.0.00.003 - Patterns of Use of Mental Health Services and Prescription Medications, 2011  
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ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Antidepressants are medicines that are typically used to treat depression, anxiety and related conditions, such as eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder[1].

NUMBER OF PEOPLE ACCESSING ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS IN 2011

There were 1.7 million people (7.8% of the Australian population) who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011.

Overall, females were more likely than males to have had a prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011 (9.9% compared with 5.6% respectively), with rates of use increasing with age. Almost one-quarter (24.0%) of all females aged 75 years or over had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for an Antidepressant medication filled in 2011.

Graph Image for Proportion of population accessing PBS subsidised Antidepressant medications in 2011

Source(s): The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset



For information on other socio-demographic characteristics of people who accessed at least one PBS subsidised Antidepressant medication in 2011 see Datacube Table 2.

COMBINATIONS OF TREATMENT TYPE

Of all people who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011, one-quarter (25.6%) also had at least one PBS subsidised prescription filled for Anxiolytic/Hypnotic and sedative medications in 2011 while one-quarter (25.3%) also had at least one MBS subsidised mental health-related GP consultation.
Almost half (46.9%) had only a prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011, with no other type of MBS or PBS subsidised mental health-related treatment in 2011. When interpreting this, it should be noted that some consultations with health professionals at which Antidepressant medications were prescribed may not have been recorded as a mental-health related service, or may have occurred earlier than 2011. These consultations were not captured in the Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset on which this analysis is based.

Graph Image for Proportion of population accessing PBS subsidised Antidepressant medication in 2011, by type of service and or medication

Source(s): The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset



For information on socio-demographic characteristics of people who accessed at least one PBS subsidised Antidepressant medication in 2011 in combination with other treatment types see Datacube Table 2.

NUMBER OF PRESCRIPTIONS FOR ANTIDEPRESSANTS FILLED IN 2011

People who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011 had an average of 8.2 scripts filled during the year. Around one in seven (14.4%) had only one Antidepressant script filled while nearly one-quarter (24.6%) had 11–13 scripts. This would equate to around one script per month in 2011.

Graph Image for Proportion of people who had an Antidepressant medication in 2011, by number of prescriptions(a)

Footnote(s): (a) People who had at least one Antidepressant medication in 2011.

Source(s): The Mental Health Services-Census Integrated Dataset



While females were more likely than males to have had a prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011 (9.9% compared with 5.6% respectively), their average number of scripts filled were similar (8.4 scripts on average for females and 8.0 for males).

Of people who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011, older people and people with a need for assistance with core activities (for example, those relating to self-care, communication and mobility) had the highest average number of scripts filled. People aged 65-74 years had 9.0 scripts filled on average in 2011 while people with a need for assistance had 9.9 scripts filled on average. Children aged 0-14 years who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antidepressant medications filled in 2011 had an average of 5.4 scripts filled.

For information on other socio-demographic characteristics of people who accessed at least one PBS subsidised Antidepressant medication in 2011 by number of prescriptions filled, see Datacube Table 5.


ENDNOTES

1. Health Direct Australia, Antidepressants medicines, <http://www.healthdirect.gov.au/#!/antidepressant-medicines>, last accessed 18/03/2016.