Differences in psychotropic drug prescriptions among ethnic groups in the Netherlands
Psychotropic drug use in Europe and the USA has increased in the past 20 years. The rise in mental health-care use instigated a debate about possible differences in prevalence rates between different ethnic groups in the Netherlands, although the exact differences were unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether these minority groups were more or less likely than the native population to receive psychotropic drugs.
A descriptive population study was conducted using the Agis Health Database, containing demographic and health-care consumption data of approximately 1.5 million inhabitants of the Netherlands. Rates of prescriptions of psychotropic drugs from 2001 to 2006 and adjusted odds ratios for psychotropic drug prescriptions among native Dutch, Turkish and Moroccan ethnic groups were calculated. These data were analysed using logistic regression, after being adjusted for age, gender and socioeconomic status.
The mean year prevalence of psychotropic drug prescriptions from 2001 to 2006 was 14.0%. Except for a decrease in anxiolytic drugs, the prescriptions of psychotropic drugs increased from 2001 to 2006. These trends were the same for all of the ethnic groups considered. Among both the Moroccan and Turkish populations, there was a higher risk of antidepressant and antipsychotic drug prescriptions, and a pronounced lower risk of ADHD medication and lithium prescriptions compared to the native population. Among the Turkish population, the risk of anxiolytic drug prescriptions was greater than in the native population.
Compared to the native population in the Netherlands, first- and second-generation Turkish and Moroccan immigrants had an increased risk of antidepressant and antipsychotic drug prescriptions and a decreased risk of ADHD medication and Lithium prescriptions. Further research is needed to clarify whether patients of different ethnic backgrounds with the same symptoms receive similar diagnosis and adequate treatment.
KeywordsTurkish Moroccan Prevalence Psychotropic drugs Netherlands
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