Are Antidepressants Overprescribed in Older Adults?

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Results of a study conducted in Minnesota from 2005 to 2012 suggest antidepressant medications are overprescribed in older adults about 24 percent of the time. And, newer antidepressants prescribed for non-specific psychiatric symptoms and unclear diagnoses were overprescribed most often.

This research involved 3,199 antidepressant prescriptions from the Rochester Epidemiology Project medical record system. To define “overprescription” for their study, the researchers used regulatory information from a standardized drug information database and conducted a multidisciplinary expert review.

Factors that increased the risk of being overprescribed an antidepressant include:

  • Living in a nursing home or extended care facility
  • Having a higher number of comorbid medical conditions that require medication
  • Having more off-site doctors
  • Requiring urgent or acute care services within the previous year
  • Obtaining an antidepressant prescription over the phone or via e‐mail or an online patient portal

Sourced from: Pharmacology Research & Perspectives