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Eighty-six million antidepressant items prescribed in 2022/23, NHS data reveals

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The recent data released by the NHS England revealed that in 2022/23 nearly 86 million antidepressant items were prescribed to around 8.6 million identified patients. 

According to the statistic published on ‘Medicines Used in Mental Health’ of the 5 British National Formulary (BNF) sections, 4 had increases in items and identified patients across 2022/23.

The only BNF section to decrease since 2021/22 was hypnotics and anxiolytics. Items fell by 2% to 14 million and identified patients fell by 2 per cent to 1.9 million in 2022/23

The data also revealed that Prescribing of Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulants and drugs for ADHD increased by 32 per cent in adults over 18 and 12 per cent in children 17 and under. 

“2022/23 was the first time that more adult patients have been prescribed drugs from this section than child patients, in the time period covered by these statistics,” said the report.

“Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulants and drugs for ADHD was the only BNF section with more male patients than female patients. In the other 4 this was the reverse, with more female patients than male patients.”

The publication of statistics aims to describe the prescribing of medicines used to improve mental health in England that are subsequently dispensed in the community. It does not include data on medicines used in secondary care, prisons, or issued by a private prescriber.

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