European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 199–204 | Cite as

Patterns of psychotropic medicine use and related diseases across educational groups: national cross-sectional survey

  • Merete W. NielsenEmail author
  • Ebba Holme Hansen
  • Niels Kristian Rasmussen
Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription



To analyse whether the use of different groups of psychotropic medicines among educational groups in a general population was congruent with the occurrence of related diseases.


Data from The Danish Health and Morbidity Survey 2000 were analysed. The survey was conducted by face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of the Danish population aged 16 years and above (n=16,690). The prevalence of four different types of psychotropic medicine use and related diseases in educational groups was analysed by indirect standardisation. Age and gender standardised prevalence ratios (SPRs) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated based on the total study population.


In general, respondents in the two least-educated groups used psychotropic medicines more often and had a higher proportion reporting the related disease than could be expected according to indirect standardisation. The opposite picture appeared for respondents in the two highest educated groups (SPR<100). The overall patterns were similar for all four groups of psychotropic medicine users, although some of the SPRs were not significant.


The results documented an uneven distribution of health problems in the general population. Psychotropic medicine use was congruent with the distribution of related health problems, which means that the least-educated groups in most need of treatment also had the most-frequent medicine use. Expenses incurred by the individual user did not seem to be a barrier to access to medicines, not even for specific groups of medicine ineligible for reimbursement in Denmark.


Psychotropic medicine Education General population 



The authors would like to thank Ola Ekholm, National Institute of Public Health, for statistical support during the analyses. Data collection was funded by a grant from The Danish Ministry of Health and data analysis by a PhD fellowship from The Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Merete W. Nielsen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ebba Holme Hansen
    • 2
  • Niels Kristian Rasmussen
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social PharmacyThe Danish University of Pharmaceutical SciencesCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.FKL–Research Centre for Quality in Medicine UseCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.National Institute of Public HealthCopenhagenDenmark

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