Is antidepressant use changing? Prevalence and clinical correlates in two New England communities

A. L. Hume, University of Rhode Island
M. M. Barbour, University of Rhode Island
K. L. Lapane, University of Rhode Island
R. A. Carleton, University of Rhode Island


We attempted to determine whether the prevalence of antidepressant use had increased in population-based samples between 1981 and 1993, and compared the characteristics of antidepressant users and nonusers. Data were derived from six biennial, random sample, cross-sectional household surveys conducted between 1981 and 1993 in two southeastern New England communities. For each survey, point prevalence estimates were determined for the major antidepressant categories. Antidepressant users were most likely to be women, slightly older, and less likely to be employed than nonusers (p<0.0001). Comorbid conditions and concurrent drug therapy were present more frequently among users. The overall prevalence of antidepressant use per 1000 population increased from 7.8 (95% confidence interval 4.3, 11.3) in 1981-1982 to 31.4 (95% CI 23.9, 38.9) in 1992-1993, especially among women and respondents between ages 40 and 59 years.