Antidepressant prescribing soars

Antidepressant prescribing soars

Joined: August 3rd, 2004, 1:23 pm

May 14th, 2007, 12:46 pm #1

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6653013.stm


The number of prescriptions for antidepressants in England has hit a record high despite national guidance advocating alternative treatments.
More than 31 million prescriptions for drugs such as Prozac were issued in 2006 - a 6% rise on the year before.




The figures come as two studies showed "startling" benefits of country walks in people with depression.

Mind, the charity that reported the findings, said GPs should consider "ecotherapy" as a valid alternative.

The National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence issued guidance in 2004 recommending that antidepressants should not be used as first-line therapy for mild to moderate depression.

Instead patients should be offered guided self-help and psychological therapies in the first instance.

But figures from the Information Centre indicate the number of prescriptions for antidepressants are still on the rise.

In particular prescriptions for a group of drugs known as SSRIs, which include Prozac, rose by 10% last year from 14.7m to 16.2m.

There have been fears that the drugs are linked to suicidal thoughts and self-harm in some cases.

In 2003, experts said SSRI antidepressants should not be given to teenagers after experts' concerns they made some patients suicidal.

However, Prozac is still recommended for under-18s, as it is thought that the benefits of taking this particular drug outweigh any potential risk, but only for those with severe depression.

Alternative therapies

Mind, the mental health charity, say the UK is trailing behind other countries in the use of other therapies.

In the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Slovenia, patients with depression are prescribed agricultural work.

Holland has 600 care farms that are part of the health service compared with 43 in the UK none of which are aimed at mental health.

In a report on ecotherapy, Mind said 93% of GPs have prescribed drugs due to lack of alternatives.

Ecotherapy, described as getting outdoors and getting active in a green environment, should be considered as a treatment option they said.

Researchers at the University of Essex compared a walk in a country park with a walk in a shopping centre in a study of 20 people.

They found 71% reported decreased levels of depression after a country walk compared with 45% after a shopping centre walk.

Participants also felt much less tense and reported greatly increased self esteem after a green walk.

But after a walk in a shopping centre, 50% said their feelings of tension increased and 44% said their self-esteem decreased after the walk in a shopping centre.

A separate survey of 108 people who regularly take part in green activities run by local Mind associations found 90% said it was the combination of nature and exercise that had the greatest effect on them and 94% said green activities had lifted their depression.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind said ecotherapy was a credible, clinically-valid treatment option and needs to be prescribed by GPs especially as access to treatments other than antidepressants was extremely limited.

"We're not saying that ecotherapy can replace drugs but the debate needs to be broadened."

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: "GPs are now encouraged to diagnose depression yet without the availability of qualified counsellors and therapists they have little choice but to hand out a prescription - or send the patient away empty-handed, leaving them with less hope of treatment and recovery."

The NHS is currently rolling out a programme of providing people with access to computerised CBT and the government has set up 10 pilots to explore ways of speeding up access to talking therapies.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: "Central to our efforts is the ability for people who are ill to be able to quickly get the right kind of therapy, instead of being prescribed medication."

They added the demonstration sites were showing early signs that quick access to therapy reduced the time that patients are ill and helps individuals to regain their independence.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We reject the suggestion that GPs prescribe antidepressants too readily.

"GPs consider the need for antidepressants only after a careful assessment of the patients? clinical condition.

"The real story is the lack of access to services such as talking therapies and the long waiting lists for these. GPs find themselves in a difficult position because of limited services."


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Joined: August 3rd, 2004, 1:23 pm

May 14th, 2007, 1:07 pm #2

http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ope ... ation.html


More than 31 million prescriptions were given out for anti-depressants in Britain last year. But do we really need them?





The anti-depressant drug Prozac. Photograph: Michael Crabtree/PA

A survey has revealed that the number of Britons prescribed antidepressants is at a record high, despite official warnings that many patients may not need them.

As it hits its 20th birthday, Prozac has come in for increasing criticism by those who are concerned about the country's reliance on prescription medication to counter mild depression.

Mental health charities such as Mind have said that people with moderate depression can benefit more from counselling or exercise than pills.

Two studies released today also espouse the notion of "eco-therapy" and suggest that walks in the country can improve a person's mental health. One report found that after a country walk, 71% of people reported decreased levels of depression and said they felt less tense while 90% reported increased self-esteem.

But Prozac has become a fixture of British culture - even an art project was named after the drug.

What do you think? Are we so depressed that we can only be cured by medication, or will cheering up be as simple as a walk in the park?
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Joined: August 3rd, 2004, 1:23 pm

May 14th, 2007, 1:11 pm #3

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a ... 784993.ece





David Rose
The number of Britons prescribed antidepressants is at a record high, despite official warnings that many patients may not need them.

More than 31 million prescriptions were written by doctors for antidepressant drugs last year, figures published today reveal, with the use of drugs such as Seroxat and Prozac increasing by 10 per cent. The findings, which show a big increase on previous years, come despite growing concerns over the country’s excessive reliance on chemical treatments and over their possible side-effects.

The exact number of people taking pills for depression is not known but is thought to be several million, with many taking the medications over long periods on repeat prescriptions.

The most common drugs, known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) – which include Seroxat and Prozac – are the easiest treatment to prescribe and are often effective. However, guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2004 recommended that they should not be used as a first-stop remedy for depression. They have also been found occasionally to trigger suicidal thoughts and self-harm in children and adults, and are not recommended for use by under18s.

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Research on doctors’ habits also revealed that many felt they were prescribing the drugs too often, but did so because patients wanted medication. They said that funding was often not sufficient for alternative behavioural therapies and other counselling treatments, despite NICE guidance that they can be as effective as antidepressants for those with mild to moderate depression.

The 31 million prescriptions for all antidepressants represented a 6 per cent rise last year, while SSRI use increased from from 14.7 million in 2005 to 16.2 million in 2006. The cost to the NHS of antidepressants was £291.5 million last year, with SSRI use reaching £119.6 million.

Depression is estimated to affect as many as one in five people at some point during their lives. At any moment, 1.5 million people aged between 16 and 75 are suffering from depression, and 2.7 million from anxiety, although although most cases are untreated. Depression is responsible for 70 per cent of recorded suicides in Britain.

Campaigners also claim that taking regular exercise in a green space could alleviate the symptoms of sufferers. But a lack of funding for such treatments contributes to the increasing use of antidepressants as a “quick fix”, despite government pledges to bring an end to the “Prozac nation”.

According to Mind, the leading mental health charity, adult patients with moderate depression should instead be given counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy or encouraged to take more exercise.

An estimated 93 per cent of GPs continued to prescribe the drugs because a lack of alternatives, the charity said. The figures were released quietly last month, but are quoted in a report released today by Mind.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “Doctors are guilty of a knee-jerk reaction in prescribing pills, which are commonly long-term prescriptions and have well-known issues with side-effects. The mindset of GPs will have to change so that they consider counselling and other forms of therapy as a frontline treatment.”

But William Bird, a family doctor from Reading, said that patients increasingly expected to be given medication rather than other therapies. “Antidepressants seem to have lost the stigma they once had and now most patients seem to want to take them.

“On the other hand, it can be hard to motivate patients with depression and we need to do more to raise awareness of counselling services and promote physical activity.”

David Healy, a professor of psychological medicine at Cardiff University and a leading critic of SSRIs, said that while the drugs were of benefit to patients with severe depression, the risks outweighed the benefits in those with less serious problems.



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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 14th, 2007, 5:43 pm #4


"Research on doctors’ habits also revealed that many felt they were prescribing the drugs too often, but did so because patients wanted medication."

Its strange that many doctors' principles aren't applied to Omega 3 and similar when patients point out their preference for it over various drugs.  Cognitive therapy might be hard to get, but Omega 3 is in plentiful supply.

 

This doctor seems to be an exception:

http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid ... =122272007

"Doctors told fish oil can help patients to overcome depression
<DIV id=byline><SPAN class=name>LYNDSAY MOSS</SPAN> <SPAN class=title>HEALTH CORRESPONDENT</SPAN> <SPAN class=email>(
<SCRIPT type=text/javascript>
//<![CDATA[
var e='3E612F3C6D6F633B363423266E616D73746F63733B3436232673736F6D6C3E226E6F697373657270656420656D6F637265766F206F742073746E656974617020706C6568206E6163206C696F206873696620646C6F742073726F74636F443D7463656A6275733F6D6F633B363423266E616D73746F63733B3436232673736F6D6C3A6F746C69616D223D6665726820613C';var d='';for(i=e.length-2;i>=0;i-=2){d+=unescape('%'+e.substr(i,2));};document.write(d);
//]]>
</SCRIPT>
<A href="mailto:lmoss@scotsman.com?subject=Doctors told fish oil can help patients to overcome depression">lmoss@scotsman.com</A>)</SPAN> </DIV>
MORE GPs <STRONG><FONT size=4>should</FONT> </STRONG>be handing out fish oil supplements to depressed patients instead of turning to drugs, a nutrition expert urged yesterday.

Dr Tom Gilhooly, a GP in Glasgow, said<STRONG> his practice now prescribed omega 3</STRONG> supplements to people with mild to moderate depression, with as many as <STRONG>60 per cent seeing a major improvement without antidepressants..." </STRONG>

&nbsp;
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 14th, 2007, 5:47 pm #5

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6653013.stm


The number of prescriptions for antidepressants in England has hit a record high despite national guidance advocating alternative treatments.
More than 31 million prescriptions for drugs such as Prozac were issued in 2006 - a 6% rise on the year before.




The figures come as two studies showed "startling" benefits of country walks in people with depression.

Mind, the charity that reported the findings, said GPs should consider "ecotherapy" as a valid alternative.

The National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence issued guidance in 2004 recommending that antidepressants should not be used as first-line therapy for mild to moderate depression.

Instead patients should be offered guided self-help and psychological therapies in the first instance.

But figures from the Information Centre indicate the number of prescriptions for antidepressants are still on the rise.

In particular prescriptions for a group of drugs known as SSRIs, which include Prozac, rose by 10% last year from 14.7m to 16.2m.

There have been fears that the drugs are linked to suicidal thoughts and self-harm in some cases.

In 2003, experts said SSRI antidepressants should not be given to teenagers after experts' concerns they made some patients suicidal.

However, Prozac is still recommended for under-18s, as it is thought that the benefits of taking this particular drug outweigh any potential risk, but only for those with severe depression.

Alternative therapies

Mind, the mental health charity, say the UK is trailing behind other countries in the use of other therapies.

In the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Slovenia, patients with depression are prescribed agricultural work.

Holland has 600 care farms that are part of the health service compared with 43 in the UK none of which are aimed at mental health.

In a report on ecotherapy, Mind said 93% of GPs have prescribed drugs due to lack of alternatives.

Ecotherapy, described as getting outdoors and getting active in a green environment, should be considered as a treatment option they said.

Researchers at the University of Essex compared a walk in a country park with a walk in a shopping centre in a study of 20 people.

They found 71% reported decreased levels of depression after a country walk compared with 45% after a shopping centre walk.

Participants also felt much less tense and reported greatly increased self esteem after a green walk.

But after a walk in a shopping centre, 50% said their feelings of tension increased and 44% said their self-esteem decreased after the walk in a shopping centre.

A separate survey of 108 people who regularly take part in green activities run by local Mind associations found 90% said it was the combination of nature and exercise that had the greatest effect on them and 94% said green activities had lifted their depression.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind said ecotherapy was a credible, clinically-valid treatment option and needs to be prescribed by GPs especially as access to treatments other than antidepressants was extremely limited.

"We're not saying that ecotherapy can replace drugs but the debate needs to be broadened."

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: "GPs are now encouraged to diagnose depression yet without the availability of qualified counsellors and therapists they have little choice but to hand out a prescription - or send the patient away empty-handed, leaving them with less hope of treatment and recovery."

The NHS is currently rolling out a programme of providing people with access to computerised CBT and the government has set up 10 pilots to explore ways of speeding up access to talking therapies.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: "Central to our efforts is the ability for people who are ill to be able to quickly get the right kind of therapy, instead of being prescribed medication."

They added the demonstration sites were showing early signs that quick access to therapy reduced the time that patients are ill and helps individuals to regain their independence.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We reject the suggestion that GPs prescribe antidepressants too readily.

"GPs consider the need for antidepressants only after a careful assessment of the patients? clinical condition.

"The real story is the lack of access to services such as talking therapies and the long waiting lists for these. GPs find themselves in a difficult position because of limited services."

LOL to the video you sent the other day &nbsp; Thanks.
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Joined: August 3rd, 2004, 1:23 pm

May 14th, 2007, 8:23 pm #6

what a clever little thing....no cognitive problems there!!!! ...lol
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 14th, 2007, 8:26 pm #7

Except being 'barking mad' lol. n/t
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