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Tuesday 5 July 2016

Antidepressant and diabetes drugs prescriptions rise

The latest data for England shows prescriptions for antidepressants and drugs to tackle diabetes have gone up.

But doctors are giving out fewer antibiotics, the Health and Social Care Information Centre report suggests.

Figures show that more than one billion prescriptions were issued by doctors and other health staff in 2015 - more than double compared to a decade ago.

And for the ninth year in a row, diabetes drugs cost the most to the NHS - at £2.6m per day.

'Persistent trend'

Antidepressants were also high on the list costing the NHS £780,000 per day.

Vicki Nash, at the mental health charity Mind, said prescriptions issued for depression have been on a persistent and upward trend for many years.

She added: "It may be that more people are coming forward and seeking help, or that doctors are getting better at spotting the symptoms of mental health problems, but these are unlikely to be the only reasons.

"It is vital we better understand exactly how many people are taking antidepressants, for how long and whether they are receiving other treatment alongside medication, as recommended in NICE guidance."

The charity said that while cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling were becoming more widely available, talking therapies were still not available to everyone who needed them.

The figures show prescriptions for antibacterial medicines - mainly antibiotics - fell by more than 5% compared with 2014.

The HSCIC report looked at the number of items written on prescriptions (such as courses of antibiotics) that were given out by doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists over the last year.


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