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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Reviewing long-term antidepressants can reduce drug burden: a prospective observational cohort study
Author(s): Johnson, Chris F
Macdonald, Hector J
Atkinson, Pauline
Buchanan, Alasdair I
Downes, Noreen
Dougall, Nadine
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Keywords: antidepressant
drug therapy
primary care
Issue Date: Nov-2012
Date Deposited: 19-Dec-2013
Citation: Johnson CF, Macdonald HJ, Atkinson P, Buchanan AI, Downes N & Dougall N (2012) Reviewing long-term antidepressants can reduce drug burden: a prospective observational cohort study. British Journal of General Practice, 62 (604), pp. 584-585.
Abstract: Background: Antidepressant prescribing continues to rise. Contributing factors are increased long-term prescribing and possibly the use of higher selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) doses. Aim: To review general practice patients prescribed the same antidepressant long-term (≥2 years) and evaluate prescribing and management pre and post-review. Design and setting: Prospective observational cohort study using routine data from 78 urban general practices, Scotland. Method: All patients prescribed antidepressants (excluding amitriptyline) for ≥2 years were identified from records November 2009 to March 2010. GPs selected patients for face-to-face review of clinical condition and medication, December 2009 to September 2010. Pre- and post-review data were collected; average antidepressant doses and changes in prescribed daily doses were calculated. Onward referral to support services was recorded. Results: 8.6% (33 312/388 656) of all registered patients were prescribed an antidepressant, 47.1% (15 689) were defined as long-term users and 2849 (18.2%) were reviewed. 811 (28.5%) patients reviewed had a change in antidepressant therapy: 7.0% stopped, 12.8% reduced dose, 5.3% increased dose, and 3.4% changed antidepressant, resulting in 9.5% (95% CI = 9.1% to 9.8% P less than 0.001) reduction in prescribed daily dose and 8.1% reduction in prescribing costs. 6.3% were referred onwards, half to NHS Mental Health Services. Pre-review SSRI doses were 10-30% higher than previously reported. Conclusion: Almost half of all people prescribed antidepressants were long-term users. Appropriate reductions in prescribing can be achieved by reviewing patients. Higher SSRI doses may be contributing to current antidepressant growth.
DOI Link: 10.3399/bjgp12X658304
Rights: The publisher has granted permission for use of this work in this Repository. Published in British Journal of General Practice by Royal College of General Practitioners. Please cite as: Chris F Johnson, Hector J Macdonald, Pauline Atkinson. Reviewing long-term antidepressants can reduce drug burden: a prospective observational cohort study. Br J Gen Pract 2012; Nov;62(604): 584-5. Article can be accessed online at:

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