Background: We aimed to analyze the prevalence of prescription anxiolytics and antidepressants in elderly individuals in Spain between the years 2003 and 2009, and to identify those factors associated with the likelihood of consumption of these drugs during the study period.
Methods: We used individualized secondary data retrieved from the 2003 and 2006 Spanish National Health Surveys (SNHS) and the 2009 European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) for Spain to conduct a nationwide, descriptive, cross-sectional pharmacoepidemiology study on psychotropic medication in the population aged 65 years and over in Spain. A total of 12,228 interviews were analyzed (5,117 from 2003; 7,084 from 2006; and 5,144 from 2009). The dichotomous dependent variables chosen were the answers “yes” or “no” to the question “In the last two weeks have you taken the following medicines and were they prescribed for you by a doctor?” referring to intake of anxiolytics and antidepressants. Independent variables were sociodemographic, comorbidity, and healthcare resources.
Results: Multivariate analysis highlighted the association between increased psychoactive drug intake and female gender, depression, polypharmacy, and negative perception of health. We observed a significant increase in the consumption of prescription anxiolytics (AOR, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.06–1.10]) and antidepressants (AOR, 1.11 [95% CI, 1.08–1.14]) in individuals aged ≥65 years in Spain between the years 2003 and 2009.
Conclusions: The prevalence of anxiolytics and antidepressants consumption is higher in elderly women than men, and increases with negative perception of health. The Spanish elderly individuals taking antidepressants reported having problems to manage these medicines in their own homes.