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Antidepressant prescriptions climb by 16 million
Prescriptions filled for antidepressant drugs increased from 154 million in 2002 to 170 million in 2005, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Among the prescriptions (not including refills) which were written after patients talked with doctors in-person or over the phone, AHRQ data found that in 2005:
- Psychiatrists—medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of mental disorders—prescribed 29 percent.
- General practitioners—physicians who provide primary care but are specialty-trained—prescribed 23 percent.
- Family practitioners—primary care physicians who complete a residency in family medicine—prescribed 21 percent.
- Internal medicine specialists—physicians who complete a residency in internal medicine and who focus on the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of illnesses in adults that are often difficult to diagnose or manage—prescribed 10 percent.
These data are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to MEPS Statistical Brief #206: Antidepressants Prescribed by Medical Doctors in Office-Based and Outpatient Settings for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2002 and 2005.)
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