Socio-economic inequalities in first-time use of antidepressants: a population-based study
To analyse whether first-time use of antidepressants (incidence) and selection of TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) versus new-generation drugs are associated with socio-economic status and psychiatric history.
We conducted a population-based cohort study using registry data covering Funen County, Denmark. A total of 305,953 adult residents without antidepressant prescriptions 5 years prior to the study period (1998) were included.
The 1-year incidence rate of antidepressant prescription (1.7%) increased with age. It was higher in people who were female, less educated, unemployed, those receiving old-age or disability pension, low-income groups, and singles. The proportion prescribed new-generation antidepressants (82%) showed no difference according to socio-economic variables (education, annual income and socio-economic group), but was higher among the young and single. Admission to psychiatric hospital within 4 years prior to the study period was associated with high-incidence rate of antidepressant prescription and overall a preference for the new-generation antidepressants.
Socio-economic status did not seem to influence the selection of TCAs versus new-generation antidepressants. Compatible with the general epidemiology of depression, low socio-economic status was associated with a high number of first-time users of antidepressants in the population, and the incidence rate increased with age.
KeywordsAntidepressive agents Incidence Socio-economic status
The study was funded by The Danish Research Foundation for general practice, grant no. 585–148509. We thank Secretary Lise Stark for proofreading the manuscript.
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