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Old 08-03-2009, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default 27 million Americans on antidepressant drugs

27 million Americans on antidepressant drugs

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N03411375.htm

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* Use doubles from 13 million to 27 million Americans

* Increase in use not seen among blacks

* More Americans may accept diagnosis of depression

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Use of antidepressant drugs in the United States doubled between 1996 and 2005, probably because of a mix of factors, researchers reported on Monday.

About 6 percent of people were prescribed an antidepressant in 1996 -- 13 million people. This rose to more than 10 percent or 27 million people by 2005, the researchers found.

"Significant increases in antidepressant use were evident across all sociodemographic groups examined, except African Americans," Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University in New York and Steven Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia wrote in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"Not only are more U.S. residents being treated with antidepressants, but also those who are being treated are receiving more antidepressant prescriptions," they added.

More than 164 million prescriptions were written in 2008 for antidepressants, totaling $9.6 billion in U.S. sales, according to IMS Health.

Drugs that affect the brain chemical serotonin like GlaxoSmithKline's <GSK.L> Paxil, known generically as paroxetine, and Eli Lilly and Co's <LLY.N> Prozac, known generically as fluoxetine, are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant. But the study found the effect in all classes of the drugs.

Olfson and Marcus looked at the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys done by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, involving more than 50,000 people in 1996 and 2005.

"During this period, individuals treated with antidepressants became more likely to also receive treatment with antipsychotic medications and less likely to undergo psychotherapy," they wrote.

SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE

The survey did not look at why, but the researchers made some educated guesses. It may be more socially acceptable to be diagnosed with and treated for depression, they said. The availability of new drugs may also have been a factor.

"Although there was little change in total promotional spending for antidepressants between 1999 ($0.98 billion) and 2005 ($1.02 billion), there was a marked increase in the percentage of this spending that was devoted to direct-to consumer advertising, from 3.3 percent ($32 million) to 12 percent ($122.00 million)," they added.

Dr. Eric Caine of the University of Rochester in New York said he was concerned by the findings. "Antidepressants are only moderately effective on population level," he said in a telephone interview.

Caine, who was not involved in the research, noted that several studies show therapy is as effective as, if not more effective than, drug use alone.

"There are no data to say that the population is healthier. Indeed, the suicide rate in the middle years of life has been climbing," he said.

Olfson and Marcus said out-of-pocket costs for psychotherapy and lower insurance coverage for such visits may have driven patients away from seeing therapists in favor of an easy-to-prescribe pill.

The rise in antidepressant prescriptions also is seen despite a series of public health warnings on use of antidepressant drugs beginning in 2003 after clinical trials showed they increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and teens.

In February 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added its strongest warning, a so-called black box, on the use of all antidepressants in children and teens.
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:04 PM   #2
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Damn, you all are some depressed folk aren't you
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meagain View Post
Damn, you all are some depressed folk aren't you
LOL! You'd think!

But the real problem is that doctors find out a patient has good insurance, and you can pretty well pay your co-pay and walk out with script of whatever "may cure" you. That is with exception of pain meds. The keep just a slightly closer watch on this...but still not great. But Doctors take advantage of good insurance!

And could it be in cases like this where someone just needed a little better outlook on life, but instead got a script of Xanax and it became a bigger problem than them taking a hold of their life. Go to the gym, go to church, join a social group...but nah, Americans want a quick fix and if they have insurance, doctors will give it to ya.
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:03 AM   #4
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Rick is on the right track with this.

Everything is prescription driven. My mother is 62 and whenever she sees the doc, they want to give her more and more scripts. Some of her peers are taking 20+ pills a day.

A doc has one of my relatives, who is only in her 30's, on an insane amount of pills.

And my wife's mother is 75, and in very good health (she looks 50), but is taking an insane amoutn of pills. For what, I have no clue.

When I went into the doc recently, my script couldn't have been easier. Granted, I knew I had the condition. But it still was insanely easy.

And we hear of so many kids on medicine for mental disorders. I tell my wife that the parents need to turn off the tube, turn off the sugar, and take command of the house.
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