Amidst persisting Covid-19 pandemic, 19.6 million antidepressant drugs were prescribed during the period between July and September 2020, latest data showed on Thursday (December 10).

The figures from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) represent a four per cent increase when compared to the same quarter in the previous year, and a two per cent rise from the previous quarter.

“All of the drug groups in this publication have shown greater levels of variation in monthly prescribing since the introduction of measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic on 23 March 2020,” the agency said in a statement.

The ‘Medicines used in Mental Health – England Quarterly Summary’ statistics from the NHSBSA covers five main groups of medicines which include hypnotics and anxiolytics used to treat insomnia and anxiety; antidepressants; drugs prescribed for dementia; drugs used to cure psychoses and related disorders; and central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and drugs used to cure attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

All of the drug groups observed a significant decrease in monthly prescribing between July and August, which the NHSBSA said has not been typically observed in previous years.

The data is based on community prescribing and excludes hospitals and prisons.

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