The Information Services Division Scotland recently published statistics on prescription of drugs used for treating mental health between 2009-2010 and 2018-2019. The report considers five types of drugs, i.e. anxiolytics and hypnotics, antipsychotics and related drugs, antidepressants, drugs used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and drugs used for dementia.
Key findings from the report include the following:
- There has been a steady increase in the dispensing of antipsychotics, antidepressants, ADHD medications and dementia medications over the past ten years. The prescription of hypnotics and anxiolytics has remained reasonably stable.
- There has been a 48 per cent rise in the number of individuals being prescribed antidepressants since 2009-2010.
- The cost incurred to NHS Scotland for antidepressants and ADHD drugs has risen in the last ten years, reflecting an increase in usage. The cost of dementia drugs has declined due to lower drug prices and drugs going off patent. The cost of antipsychotics, hypnotics and anxiolytics has witnessed variation because of periods of drug shortages.
- For all the drugs considered in the report, the utilisation was higher among individuals living in more deprived areas.
- For four out of the five groups of drugs considered, females were prescribed significantly more drugs than males. For ADHD medications, the trend was reversed with 80 per cent prescriptions for males.