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Can J Psychiatry. 2015 Dec;60(12):564-70.

A Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network Study Evaluating Antidepressant Prescribing in Canada From 2006 to 2012.

Author information

Researcher, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.
Network Director and Assistant Professor, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.
Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.
Editor-in-Chief, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Ottawa, Ontario; Professor, Departments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta; Member, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.



To evaluate the prescribing patterns of antidepressants (ADs) by primary care providers to youth, adults, and seniors, from 2006 to 2012, using data from electronic medical records (EMRs).


This was a retrospective cross-sectional database study that used primary care data from the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN). Data on more than 600 000 Canadian primary care patients were used to determine the prevalence and incidence of AD prescribing to patients 15 years and older who had an encounter in the years of study (from 2006 to 2012). Each study year was evaluated independently.


The study population consisted of 86 927 patients in 2006 (mean age 48.1 years [SD 18.7], 38% male) and grew to 273 529 (mean age 49.6 years [SD 19.3], 40% male) in 2012. The prevalence of AD prescribing increased from 9.20% in 2006 to 12.80% in 2012 (P < 0.001). While the incidence rate of AD prescribing dropped from 3.54% in 2006 to 2.72% in 2008 (P < 0.001) the rate started to significantly rise again, reaching an incidence of 3.07% by 2012 (P < 0.001).


The prevalence of AD prescribing by primary care providers in Canada continued to rise from 2006 to 2012. Conversely, incidence has remained stable or declined during the 6-year study period. While many complex factors likely contribute to the observed prevalence and incidence rates, our findings suggest that the guidelines indicating the efficacy of long-term AD therapy for patients with highly recurrent or severe depression are being followed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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