A Comparison of Antidepressant Use in Nova Scotia, Canada and Australia

Alesha J. Smith, Ingrid Sketris, Charmaine Cooke, David Gardner, Steve Kisely, Susan E. Tett
Research Summary: 

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study was to compare the use of antidepressant medicines in Nova Scotia and Australia in populations receiving public drug subsidies.

Research Approach/Methods
The authors compared prescription antidepressant use, applying the World Health Organisation Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical/ Defined Daily Dose system.

Key Overarching Message
Results suggest that there are different usage rates, but not type of antidepressant prescribing in Nova Scotia and Australia.

Key Findings
Antidepressant use increased in both areas over the time period (2000-2003). The use of antidepressants in Nova Scotia increased at a significantly higher rate than Australia. This may be due to increased exposure to promotion, education, or different prescribing practices in Nova Scotia compared to Australia. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were the most commonly prescribed class of drugs in both areas, constituting 60% of all antidepressants prescribed.