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Mental health prescribing soars in Scotland

Prescribing of mental health drugs has soared in Scotland over the past two years.

The number of scripts for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder grew by 20% between 2005/6 and 2006/7, while dementia drug prescribing went up by 14% according to the data from NHS Scotland. The data also shows antidepressant prescriptions tripled between 1992/3 to 2006/7 from 1.2 million a year to 3.65 million.

GPs wrote the vast majority of these prescriptions, with the remainder written mainly by nurses and dentists, say researchers at the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland. They also include prescriptions written in hospitals that are dispensed in the community, but exclude drugs dispensed within hospitals themselves.

  • The prescribing of hypnotics, anxiolytics and barbiturates rose between 2005/06 and 2006/07 by 1.24%, from 2.10 million items to 2.13 million times.
  • The rate of increase in the prescribing of medicines indicated for depression increased, from 1.4% in 2005/06 to 3.57% in 2006/07. In total 3.65 million ‘antidepressant' items were prescribed in 2006/07.
  • The volume of medicines indicated for psychoses and related disorders rose between 2005/06 and 2006/07 from 626,185 to 670,842 items; an increase of 7.13%.

Full details can be seen at ISD Scotland's website.

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