The number of antidepressants handed out in Scotland has jumped by more than 400% in less than 15 years, new figures show.
NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (NHS QIS) said that for every 1,000 people, there were 85 daily doses of such drugs dispensed last year.
This compares with 19 daily doses per 1,000 people in 1992.
Depression affects about one in five people at some point in their lives.
Dr Harpreet Kohli, a medical advisor for NHS QIS, said: “There has been a sharp rise in the prescribing of antidepressants.
“Part of this rise is due to the introduction of the latest generation of antidepressants, providing a treatment option with fewer side-effects.”
He also said “a range of social and medical issues” will have contributed to the increase.
NHS QIS provides advice on effective clinical practice and also monitors NHS performance.
Its Clinical Indicators 2007 report contains figures on three long-term conditions – depression, arthritis and upper gastrointestinal conditions.
Dr Kohli added the statistics can help the health service, adding: “They provide an important set of trends that are often worth further investigation.”
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