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

Antipsychotics consist of a group of medications used to treat symptoms of psychosis. While they do not provide a 'cure' for psychosis, they can be an effective part of treatment. During a psychotic episode, a person may experience delusions, hallucinations or thought disturbances. Antipsychotic medications work to minimise these symptoms[1].

NUMBER OF PEOPLE ACCESSING ANTIPSYCHOTIC MEDICATIONS IN 2011

There were 349,900 people (1.6% of the Australian population) who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for an Antipsychotic medication filled in 2011.

Overall, males and females were equally likely to have had a prescription for Antipsychotic medications filled in 2011, however, their relative patterns of use differed across age. While rates of use generally increased with increasing age for both males and females, males aged 0-44 years had higher rates of use than females of the same age, while males aged 55 years and over had lower rates than females of the same age. People aged 75 years and over had the highest rate of use of any age group, of one in twenty people (5.0%).

Graph Image for Proportion of population accessing PBS subsidised Antipsychotic 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 Antipsychotic medication in 2011 see Datacube Table 2.

COMBINATIONS OF TREATMENT TYPE

Of all people who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antipsychotic medications filled in 2011, more than half (55.3%) also had at least one PBS subsidised prescription filled for Antidepressant medications in 2011 while almost one-third (32.2%) also had at least one script filled for Anxiolytic/Hypnotic and sedative medications. Around one-quarter also had at least one MBS subsidised consultation with either a Psychiatrist (26.5%) or General Practitioner (26.2%) in 2011.

Around one in five (22.7%) people had only a prescription for Antipsychotic 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 Antipsychotic 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 pop. accessing PBS subsidised Antipsychotic 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 Antipsychotic medication in 2011 in combination with other treatment types see Datacube Table 2.

NUMBER OF PRESCRIPTIONS FOR ANTIPSYCHOTICS FILLED IN 2011

People who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antipsychotic medications filled in 2011 had an average of 8.3 scripts filled over the year. Around one in seven people (14.8%) had only one Antipsychotic script filled, while 16.7% had 11–13 scripts. This would equate to around one script per month in 2011.

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

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

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



Males who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antipsychotic medications filled in 2011 had an average of 8.4 scripts filled during the year, similar to the average for females of 8.2 scripts.

Across age, of people who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antipsychotic medications filled in 2011, people of middle age had the highest averages. People aged 45-54 years had 9.4 scripts filled on average followed by people aged 55-64 years (9.3 scripts). Children aged 0-14 years who had at least one PBS subsidised prescription for Antipsychotic medications filled in 2011 had an average of 5.3 scripts filled during the year.

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


ENDNOTES

1. Victoria State Government, 2015, Antipsychotic medications, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/antipsychotic-medications>, last accessed 18/03/2016.