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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


MACHADO-ALBA, Jorge E; PLAZA, Cristhian David Morales  and  GOMEZ, Mónica Johanna Solarte. Antidepressant prescription patterns in patients affiliated with the General Social Security Health System of Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.30, n.5, pp.461-468. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: Determine patterns of antidepressive drug prescription in a group of patients affiliated with the General Social Security Health System in Colombia. METHODS: Observational descriptive study of 9 881 patients, of both sexes and older than 5 years of age, medicated with antidepressants and continuously treated from August to October 2009. The patients include residents from 56 Colombian cities. A database was designed based on the consumption of medicines obtained from the company that distributes them to the patients. RESULTS: The average age was 59.1 ± 16.1 years; 73.7% of the participants were women. Of the total number of patients, 83.3% were treated with monotherapy and 16.7% with two or more antidepressants. The order of the prescription of the medicines was: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, 47.0%; atypical, 37.8%; tricyclical, 31.8%; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and norepinephrine, 1.8%; and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, 0.03%. The combinations most used were fluoxetine + trazodone (n = 1 029); amitriptyline + fluoxetine (n = 265); amitriptyline + trazodone (n = 122); fluoxetine + imipramine (n = 106); and imipramine + trazodone (n = 71). The most prescribed co-medications were anti-hypertensives (52.3%); thyroid hormones (23.3%); anti-inflammatories (19.6%); anti-epileptics (15.4%); anti-diabetics (13.8%); anti-anxiety and hypnotics (12.4%); antipsychotics (7.4%); anti-Parkinsons (4.3%); and anti-neoplastics (2.2%). CONCLUSIONS: The practice of prescribing medicines with a high therapeutic value predominates, mainly for antidepressive monotherapy. Most of the antidepressants are prescribed at dosages lower than those recommended. There is a need to design educational strategies to correct some prescription practices and to conduct research

Keywords : Depressive disorder; antidepressive agents; drug prescriptions; amitriptyline; fluoxetine; imipramine; trazodone; Colombia.

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