Drug prescriptions rise in England
7 July 2015
- From the section Health
An extra 34.5 million drugs and other prescription items were given out in 2014 compared to the year before, the latest snapshot for England shows.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre report reveals prescriptions for antidepressant medications rose by 7.2% from 53.3m to 57.1m.
Treatments for high cholesterol and diabetes also went up.
Experts point to a number of reasons behind this, including more people heading into their sixties and beyond.
People over this age are more likely to be taking a number of medicines.
While the majority of medicines tracked in this report were prescribed by GPs and dispensed by community pharmacies, the document also looked at drugs and medical kit such as bandages and glucose meters, prescribed by other health staff, including dentists, nurses and pharmacists.
It suggests an overall 3.3% increase on items prescribed in 2013.
Other reasons behind the rise could include improvements in making diagnoses, better care for some patients and an increase in the number of people living with long-term conditions, such as diabetes.
But the mental health charity Mind says more needs to be done to understand the rise in antidepressant prescriptions.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “These latest figures show no sign of this trend slowing and we need to understand why we are seeing persistent year-on-year increases.
“It may be that more people are coming forward and seeking help, or that doctors are getting better at spotting the symptoms of mental health problems, but these are unlikely to be the only reasons.
“It’s important to remember that while antidepressants can be very effective for some, they are not the solution for everyone.”
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