WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of antidepressant use among Americans of all ages increased nearly 400 percent over the last two decades, and 11 percent of Americans aged 12 and older now take antidepressant drugs, according to a federal government report released Wednesday.
The analysis of 2005-2008 data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys also showed that antidepressants are the third most common prescription drug taken by Americans of all ages and the most frequently used by those aged 18 to 44.
Of people with severe depression, about one-third takes antidepressant medication. More than 60 percent of Americans taking an antidepressant drug have taken it for two years or longer and nearly 14 percent have taken the medication for 10 years or more, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.
The investigators also found that less than one-third of people taking one antidepressant and less than half of those taking multiple antidepressants had seen a mental health professional in the past year.
Commenting on the report, Dr. Tolu Olupona, an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital Adolescent Health Center in New York City, said that "it is surprising to learn that only about one-third of those taking one antidepressant have seen a mental health professional within the past year. The number of those who have seen a mental health professional do appear to improve for those taking two or more antidepressants."
But, Olupona pointed out, "the data does not show if those who were not being monitored by a mental health professional were being monitored by primary care physicians. Nevertheless, the rate of follow-up by a mental health professional needs to be improved."
In addition to these findings, the researchers reported that women are 2.5 times more likely to take antidepressants than men and 23 percent of women aged 40 to 59 take antidepressants, more than in any other age/sex group.
Forty percent of women and 20 percent of men with severe depression take antidepressants, as well as more than one-third of women and less than one-fifth of men with moderate depression, the results showed.
Among all adults, those aged 40 and older and more likely to take antidepressants than younger people. There were no significant differences between women and men in the length of use of antidepressants.
Fourteen percent of white people take antidepressants, compared with 4 percent of blacks and 3 percent of Mexican Americans. The researchers found no association between income and antidepressant use.
About 8 percent of Americans aged 12 and older without current depressive symptoms took antidepressants. This may include those taking the drugs for reasons other than depression and those taking the drugs for depression who are being treated successfully and do not currently have depressive symptoms, Laura Pratt and colleagues at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics explained in the October NCHS Data Brief.
According to Olupona, "these medications can be effective for treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and some other disorders," but it is best when the patients receive "careful follow-up to manage efficacy, drug-drug interactions, side effects, medication compliance and a host of other medication management issues."
(Reuters) - More than one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 takes an antidepressant, a class of drugs that has become wildly popular in the past several decades, U.S. government researchers said Wednesday.
Antidepressants were the third-most common drug used by Americans of all ages between 2005 and 2008 and they were the most common drug among people aged 18 to 44, according to an analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
The team analyzed data on more than 12,000 Americans who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 2005 and 2008.
They found that antidepressant use in the United States jumped nearly 400 percent in the 2005-2008 survey period compared with the 1988-1994 period, with 11 percent of those over age 12 taking the drugs.
The increase followed the U.S. approval in 1987 of Eli Lilly and Co's Prozac or fluoxetine, the first of a newer class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or SSRIs.
According to the survey, U.S. women are 2-1/2 times more likely than men to take antidepressants, and whites are more likely than blacks to take the drugs, researchers.
Once prescribed, many people continue taking antidepressants, with more than 60 percent of Americans who use the drugs report being on them for 2 years or more.
And about 14 percent of Americans taking antidepressant medication have done so for 10 years or longer.
Patients who take the drugs often get them from their regular doctor rather than a so-called mental health professional.
According to the survey, fewer than a third of Americans taking one antidepressant drug and fewer than half of those taking more than one have seen mental health professional in the past year.
Although first introduced for depression, several antidepressants are now used to treat a host of problems, including anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, bulimia and even post traumatic stress disorder.
Health officials say about one in 25 adolescents in the United States are taking antidepressants.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the first to offer statistics on how many children ages 12 to 17 take antidepressants.
It's based on surveys and depression screenings of about 12,000 Americans.
The study found about one in 10 adults take antidepressants and they're the top prescription for Americans aged 18-44.
But researchers also said only one third of people with depression symptoms in the study were taking medication, the Associated Press reports.
The CDC report, which was released on Wednesday, also found that women take the drugs more than men, and whites use them more than blacks or Mexican-Americans.
The rate of antidepressant use among Americans of all ages increased nearly 400 per cent over the last two decades, it revealed.
Of people with severe depression, about one-third takes antidepressant medication.
More than 60 per cent of Americans taking an antidepressant drug have taken it for two years or longer and nearly 14 per cent have taken the medication for 10 years or more, according to the CDC researchers.
The research also found that less than one-third of people taking one antidepressant and less than half of those taking multiple antidepressants had seen a mental health professional in the past year.
Dr. Tolu Olupona, an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital Adolescent Health Center in New York City, said: 'It is surprising to learn that only about one-third of those taking one antidepressant have seen a mental health professional within the past year.'
Among all adults, those aged 40 and older and more likely to take antidepressants than younger people.
There were no significant differences between women and men in the length of use of antidepressants, HealthDay News reports.
Of the racial breakdown, 14 per cent of white people take antidepressants, compared with four per cent of blacks and three per cent of Mexican Americans.
Antidepressant use is skyrocketing in the U.S.
A new CDC report on antidepressants found use rose a staggering 400 percent since the last report was issued a decade earlier.
The report - based on surveys and screenings of 12,000 Americans between 2005-2008 - found that 11 percent of Americans aged 12 and over are taking an antidepressant.
Eleven percent of the population on antidepressants? That sounds like a real big number, but the authors of the report said that many people who could benefit from antidepressants aren't taking them. One-third of people with symptoms of severe depression take antidepressants.
The report also found 8 percent of Americans without any depressive symptoms take the drugs, but the authors suggest that may include people who are taking them for anxiety or people who no longer feel symptoms because of the treatment.
Other findings from the report provide a clearer picture of which Americans are taking antidepressants. Females are more than 2.5 times as likely to take the drugs as males, with nearly a quarter of all women aged 40-59 taking antidepressants. Non-Hispanic white persons are 10 percent more likely than non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans to take the drugs, the report showed.
The report also provided insight into how long people are taking antidepressants. More than 60 percent of Americans have taken their antidepressants for at least two years, while 14 percent have taken the medication for 10 years or more.
But people who are popping pills aren't necessarily getting them from a psychiatrist, or getting additional therapy that some experts recommend along with antidepressants.
The report showed that less than one-third of Americans taking antidepressants have seen a mental health professional in the past year. People taking two antidepressants fared slightly better with their follow-ups, with less than one-half seeing a mental health doctor within a year.
Dr. Norman Sussman, a psychiatrist at New York University, told the Washington Post that this finding might be representative of more people going to primary care doctors for their treatment, which is concerning. "The fact that non-psychiatrists are not as well-informed about some of the risks and limitations of these drugs is of concern," he said.
Other experts disagree, and think the primary care physician is a necessary cog in fighting depression.
"The reality is that there are not enough mental health care providers around to treat all who need it," Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatrist and director of the UCLA Center on Aging, told ABC News. "Part of what we do as psychiatrists is teach doctor's how to diagnose and treat depression so that a lot of depression can be handled in primary care."