Send to

Choose Destination
Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2007 May;16(5):560-70.

Trends in psychotropic medication use among U.S. adults.

Author information

Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, USA.



To examine trends and prevalence of prescription psychotropic medication use among noninstitutionalized US adults.


Prescription medication data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES; 1988-1994; n = 20 050) and the 1999-2002 NHANES (n = 12 060), two nationally representative cross-sectional health examination surveys, were examined for persons aged > or =17 years.


The age-adjusted prevalence of psychotropic medication use increased from 6.1% in 1988-1994 to 11.1% in 1999-2002 (p < 0.001). This was due to more than a three-fold increase in antidepressant use (2.5%, 1988-1994 vs. 8.1%, 1999-2002 (p < 0.001)). Significant increases between time periods for antidepressant use were seen for all age, gender, and race-ethnic groups although increases were less pronounced for males than females and non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans than non-Hispanic whites. Prevalence of use remained relatively constant from 1988-1994 to 1999-2002 for anxiolytic/sedative/hypnotic (ASH) medications (3.5-3.8%), antipsychotics (0.8-1.0%), and antimanic agents (0.3-0.4%). The age-adjusted prevalence of multiple psychotropic medication use increased from 1.2% in 1988-1994 to 3.1% in 1999-2002 (p < 0.001).


Psychotropic medication use among US adults increased since 1988-1994, specifically of antidepressants. Increases varied by gender and race-ethnicity indicating under-utilization for non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans compared to non-Hispanic whites for both males and females.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center