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Natural history of pharmacotherapy of older depressed community residents: The MRC–ALPHA Study

  • K. C. M. Wilson (a1), J. R. M. Copeland (a1), S. Taylor (a1) and J. Donoghue (a1)

Abstract

Background

Depression in older people is common and has a high mortality, but effective treatments exist.

Aims

To describe drug prescribing in older community residents in relation to depression status.

Method

The MRC–ALPHA community cohort aged 65 and over were interviewed using the Geriatric Mental State examination drug data collected at index interview and at two and four years.

Results

Antidepressants were used by 10.9% of the depressed population. Benzodiazepines were used frequently. Of the antidepressant users, 59.6% took low-dose antidepressants for two years, had a poor outcome and few drug changes.

Conclusions

Trends of increasing antidepressant use have cost implications for primary care groups. Benzodiazepines may be mis-prescribed for treatment of depressive symptoms. Antidepressant users have poor outcome and follow-up.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor K. C. M. Wilson, EMI Academic Unit, St Catherines Hospital, Birkenhead L42 OLQ. Tel: 0151-604 7333; Fax: 0151-653 3441

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

The ALPHA study was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Department of Health. Collection and coding of medication data were supported by grants from the Liverpool Family Health Services Authority. Analyses were supported by a grant from Lilly Industries plc. No conditions whatsoever were attached to the award from Lilly Industries and the company took no part in the collection, analyses and interpretation of the data.

Footnotes

References

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Natural history of pharmacotherapy of older depressed community residents: The MRC–ALPHA Study

  • K. C. M. Wilson (a1), J. R. M. Copeland (a1), S. Taylor (a1) and J. Donoghue (a1)

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Natural history of pharmacotherapy of older depressed community residents: The MRC–ALPHA Study

  • K. C. M. Wilson (a1), J. R. M. Copeland (a1), S. Taylor (a1) and J. Donoghue (a1)
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