Antidepressant use on the rise

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

Over the past decade, antidepressant use in New Zealand has continued to rise, with 1 in 8 New Zealanders over the age of 15 prescribed antidepressants in 2015, according to research from the University of Otago. That's an increase from about 1 in 10 in 2008, meaning the number of Kiwis on antidepressants rose 20 per cent over that time, the researchers say. SSRIs were the most commonly-prescribed drug. The researchers' prescription data shows European women 65 and over were most likely to be prescribed antidepressants.

Journal/conference: New Zealand Medical Journal

Organisation/s: University of Otago, Canterbury District Health Board

Funder: Funding for some of the data sourcing was provided by the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch.

Media Release

From: New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA)

Key points:

  • Antidepressant prescribing continues to increase in New Zealand.
  • The most common antidepressants prescribed are SSRIs.
  • The highest rates of prescribing are in older white females where nearly one in four are prescribed an antidepressant.

New Zealand has accurate data on prescriptions. In 2015, 12.6% of all New Zealanders were prescribed an
antidepressant, an increase of 21% from 2008. Women are more likely to receive antidepressants than men,
especially European women. The majority of antidepressants prescribed are SSRIs.

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New Zealand

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