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Medicina (Kaunas). 2007;43(5):412-8.

Analysis of antidepressant prescribing tendencies in Lithuania in 2003-2004.

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Department of Analytical and Toxicological Chemistry, Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania.


Depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, affecting 121 million people in whole world. In many developed countries, the number of prescriptions for antidepressants increased steeply during the 1990s. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the antidepressant prescribing patterns in all regions of Lithuania during 2003-2004, to analyze the use within different antidepressant groups, and to examine trends in age- and gender-specific antidepressant use. Antidepressants were classified into three groups according to Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification specifying the defined daily doses. The results of our study show an increase in the use of reimbursed antidepressants except tricyclic in 2004 when compared to 2003. Increase in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other nontricyclic antidepressants is probably related to their better tolerability, improved risk-benefit ratio, and less toxicity in overdose. There was no increase in the percentage of consumed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in elderly patients when compared with younger ones, despite elderly patients are most likely to benefit from reduced sedation, less antimuscarinic and less cardiac toxicity of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. The prevalence of the antidepressant use is the highest among middle-aged people (40-59 years), while the young (under 20) and elderly (older than 70) patients receive mostly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Additional studies should be carried out in order to assess drug-prescribing patterns in accordance with the guidelines of depression treatment in Lithuania considering diagnosis, dosage, and duration of treatment.

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