European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 1211–1218 | Cite as

Use of SSRIs among Danish children: a nationwide study

  • Anton Pottegård
  • Helga Zoëga
  • Jesper Hallas
  • Per Damkier
Original Contribution


Our objective was to describe the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the entire Danish population of children and adolescents from 1995 to 2011. Data on filled SSRIs were obtained for all children in Denmark aged 5–17 during 1995–2011. The amount and type of SSRIs filled were calculated as well as incidence rates and prevalence proportions. Furthermore, we looked at concurrent use of other psychotropic drug treatment duration. A total of 23,547 children aged 5–17 used SSRIs during the study period, most commonly sertraline followed by citalopram. Overall, the incidence rate increased from 0.57 per 1,000 person years in 1997 to 3.30 in 2010 and fell to 2.55 in 2011, while the prevalence proportion rose from 0.1 per 1,000 children at the end of 1995 to 3.3 at the end of 2011. However, these findings were driven entirely by an increase among adolescents (12–17 years), where the prevalence proportion rose from 0.11 and 0.36 to 4.64 and 8.52 per 1,000 boys and girls, respectively. A significant proportion of SSRI users used other psychotropic drugs concurrently, most notably antipsychotics (12–28 %) and psychostimulants (10–33 %). About 50 % of adolescents and 40 % of children discontinued treatment within 12 months of initiation. We found a marked increase in the use of SSRI drugs among adolescents in Denmark between 1995 and 2011. Whether this increase reflects a true increase in disorder occurrence, an increase in diagnostic intensity or more aggressive treatment remains uncertain.


SSRIs Antidepressants Drug utilization study Children Adolescents 


Conflict of interest

JH has participated in research projects funded by Pfizer with grants paid to the institution where he was employed. He has personally received fees for consultation from the Danish Association of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and from Lundbeck. PD is a paid consultant for Fertin Pharma, Denmark. AP and HZ report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anton Pottegård
    • 1
    • 2
  • Helga Zoëga
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jesper Hallas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Per Damkier
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Clinical Pharmacology, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Chemistry and PharmacologyOdense University HospitalOdense CDenmark
  3. 3.Centre of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland
  4. 4.Institute for Translational EpidemiologyIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

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