“Antidepressant Nation”: Stats and Infographic

No class of drugs can beat prescription painkillers for the sheer quantity of prescriptions written, but the meds that place second and third have nothing to be ashamed of.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs are the second most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. (just think Lipitor, best-selling drug ever) and. . .drum roll, please. . .. Antidepressants place third. For real.

A study in the August 2011 issue of Health Affairs found it to be the case–along with a few other fascinating facts about antidepressant usage in America. For one, between 1996-2007, “the proportion of visits at which antidepressants were prescribed but no psychiatric diagnoses were noted increased from 59.5 percent to 72.7 percent.” For another, 7% of all primary care doctor visits involve a prescription for antidepressants.

Enjoy a Health Central infographic–particularly the first line about how many American take antidepressants–then we’ll meet again to finish our stat run-down.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) found that the rate of antidepressant use  increased nearly 400% between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/08/06/138987152/antidepressant-use-climbs-as-primary-care-doctors-do-the-prescribing http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/astounding-increase-in-antidepressant-use-by-americans-201110203624 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db76.htm

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