The aim was to study utilisation patterns and determinants of antidepressant use in the general population >30 years, especially short-term use or use not related to known psychiatric morbidity.
Participants from a cross-sectional population-based Finnish Health 2000 Study (2000--2001) were linked with the National Prescription Register and National Care Register for Health Care. Within a representative sample (N=7112) of the adult population (>30 years), 12-month DSM-IV depressive, anxiety, and alcohol use disorders were assessed with the M-CIDI. Utilisation patterns of antidepressants were categorised to short-term, intermittent and continuous use. Factors predicting short-term use or use not related to known psychiatric morbidity were investigated.
Of Finnish adults 7.1% had used antidepressants in 2000, of which two-thirds reported a physician-diagnosed mental disorder; a third (35%) had major depressive or anxiety disorder during the previous 12 months. In terms of utilisation pattern, 43% were long-term users, 32% intermittent users and 26% short-term users. Short-term use was related to care by a general practitioner and having no known mental disorder. A quarter of all users had no known psychiatric morbidity. This type of user was most common among the older age groups, and inversely related to being single, on disability pension and using mental health services.
Not all psychiatric indications for antidepressant use could be explored.
Depression remains the main indication for antidepressant use. About a quarter of users had no known psychiatric indication and the indication remained unclear. Short-term and non-psychiatric use are more commonly prescribed for the elderly.