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GP eases fears over antidepressant rise in Scotland

9 November 2007

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A GP has denied claims that a rise in antidepressant prescriptions means more people are struggling with the mental illness.

New figures show 85 daily doses of the drug were dispensed per 1,000 people last year, a massive jump on the 19 per 1,000 people seen back in 1992.

But Dr Philip Wilson, a GP working in Glasgow and a researcher at the University of Glasgow, said it shows a similar number of patients are being prescribed more antidepressants over a longer period.

He said: “The limited information we have suggests it’s the same number of people who are having antidepressants.

“It is simply those people are being prescribed more of them.”

He added: “This is largely accounted for by the guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which suggest that the treatment of depression with antidepressants should continue for six months after recovery.

“There’s a lot of evidence that people’s depression relapses if they stop them too soon.

“In the case of a second or subsequent episode of depression, the guidelines are now telling us we should be prescribing for a period of two years.”

More women consulted their GPs for depression between 2005 and 2006, according to the findings, with 65 per 1,000 seeking assistance, compared with 30 men per 1,000.


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