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Antidepressant items rocket to 85.5m in 2022/23, new data shows

The number of prescription items for antidepressants grew to over 85 million in 2022/23 – up more than 3% in a year.

Some 85.5m antidepressant items were prescribed to 8.6m identified patients in England over the course of 2022/23, according to new data from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA).

This is a 3.4% increase on 2021/22 prescribing levels in this theraputic area and around a 2% increase in identified patients, the data – published yesterday (July 6) – revealed.

Read more: NICE conditionally recommends apps to treat depression and anxiety disorders

Meanwhile, prescribing for central nervous system stimulants and drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults grew by 32% between 2021/22 and 2022/23.

Prescribing in this area grew by 12% in children 17 and under in the same period, marking “the first time that more adult patients have been prescribed drugs from this section than child patients” since records began in 2015, the NHSBSA said.

And central nervous system stimulants and drugs for ADHD was the only British National Formulary (BNF) section that saw more male than female identified patients, according to the data.

Read more: Antidepressant drugs prescribed during pandemic up 5%, data shows

The only BNF section to decrease since 2021/22 both in prescription items and the number of identified patients was hypnotics and anxiolytics, with both metrics falling by 2%.

In March, the National Institute of health and Care Excellence (NICE) revealed that it was consulting on its decision to provisionally recommend eight digital tools to treat depression and anxiety disorders in adults.

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