A new study revealed that in 2013 almost 1 out of every 6 American adults was taking psychiatric drugs so as to treat affections such as insomnia, anxiety, or depression.
The study was carried out by a team of Risk Sciences International in Ottawa, Canada researchers. Research was based on the United States Medical Expenditure Panel Survey carried out in 2013.
Study results were published this week, on December 12. They saw an online release in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal.
Based on the such gathered data, Thomas Moore and a colleague went to analyze psychiatric drug usage rates. As such, they calculated the adult usage percentages for a number of different medical aids.
These included sedatives, sleep aids, prescription antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety drugs.
As such, research found that 1 out of every 6 adults had reported taking these types of drugs or pills. Amongst them, 12 percent reported having taken an antidepressant.
Another 8 percent stated to have filled a prescription for sleep aids, or sedatives. Anxiety medicines are also included in the said percentage.
Investigators also found that nearly 2 percent of the adults had also taken an antipsychotic drug.
The usage rates were examined, as researchers sought to find out if it was a common custom. As such, they found that 8 out every 10 adults admitted to a long-term usage.
This would mean that over three such prescriptions were filled in 2013. Also, they could have continued a prescription filled in 2011, or even before then.
Age factors were also taken into consideration. This led researchers to the discovery that psychiatric drugs usage increases with age.
Research found that 60 to 85 years old adults take more such drugs. The exact percentage for this age group was of one-quarter.
Amongst the 18 to 35 years old adults, the ratio averaged a 9 percentage usage.
The study researchers also compared genre and race usage ratios. They found that women are more inclined than men to take or file prescriptions for psychiatric drugs.
They also found that most of these drug prescriptions and aids were used by white citizens. At 21 percent, they register almost double when compared to the other race percentages.
Asian citizens registered the lowest such values, with only 5 percent having reportedly sought and used psychiatric drugs.
The leading 10 psychiatric drugs saw both antidepressants, anti-anxiety, and sleep aid medicines. Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin were the leading anti-anxiety medications. Ambien was reportedly the most used sleep aid.
Zoloft, Prozac, and Cymbalta are three amongst the 6 most used psychiatric medications.
The general psychiatric drugs reported usage came to 17 percent of all the survey adults. Thomas Moore, one of the study co-authors, released a statement.
According to Moore, he is concerned about the percentage from a drug safety perspective. The concern comes from the fact that quite many such drugs may lead to withdrawal effects.
A long-term usage of such medicines could also potentially lead to drug dependence, according to the same Moore.
He went to also point that the report and its ensuing results required further research and investigations.
Thomas Moore is a drug safety and policy senior scientist at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices nonprofit in Alexandria, Va.
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