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    CDC report: Antidepressant use increasing

    A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that antidepressant use in the United States increased nearly 65% over a 15-year period and that women were more likely than men to take the drugs. The findings, published in a National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief, are based on an analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

    More than 14,000 individuals aged 12 and older were represented in NHANES, which is a continuous assessment of the health and nutrition of the American people. The survey sample is designed to be nationally representative of the US civilian noninstitutionalized population. The report on antidepressants looked at participants from the NHANES 2011 to 2014 household interview alone and compared to data from 1999 to 2002.

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    Between 2011 and 2014, women were about twice as likely as men to have taken antidepressants, at all time points and across all age groups. Looking at antidepressant use over the last month, researchers found that overall, 16.5% of women had taken the drugs versus 8.6% of men.

    The pattern also held true when the researchers looked at race. In every race and Hispanic-origin group, women were more likely than men to have taken antidepressants in the past month. Non-Hispanic white women were also more likely to have taken the drugs than women of any other race or Hispanic-origin group.

    In terms of length of antidepressant use, there were no statistically significant differences between women and men. Overall, 68% of those aged 12 and over who took antidepressants had been on the medication for at least 2 years. Moreover, of those taking these drugs, between 2011 and 2014, 27.2% of women and 21.4% of men had been using antidepressants for at least 10 years.

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    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.
    Judith M. Orvos, ELS
    Judith M. Orvos, ELS, is a a BELS-certified medical writer and editor and an editorial consultant for Contemporary OB/GYN.


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