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First Published Wednesday, 17 December 2008

depressive

A new study has revealed the most commonly prescribed medication for Australian women is antidepressants.


The study, by researchers from Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH). The ALSWH is a 20 year project involving three cohorts spanning three generations. More than 40,000 women participate in the study.


Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Medicare data were linked to survey data to examine claims and costs of medications and other health care resources.


University of Newcastle study co-director and lead author of the Use and costs of medications and other health care resources report, Professor Julie Byles, said the research indicated the prevalence of antidepressant use increased with age.


Eight percent of younger women and 14 percent of mid-age women used antidepressants during the surveyed period,” Professor Byles said. “This figure jumps to 18 percent in older women.


However, the use of antidepressants is not a clear indicator of the extent of depression among women. For example, among young women who reported a diagnosis of depression, 40 percent had not used prescribed antidepressant medication.


Other significant findings from the research include:


  • *Older women, in particular, mentioned the impact of of costs of medication on their ability to manage their incomes
  • *There were few differences in patterns of claims between women living in urban, rural and remote areas
  • *There was evidence that women who made claims for common medications had a lower socio-economic status.

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The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health is funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing.



Byles J, Loxton D, Berecki J, et al. Use and costs of medications and other health care resources: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing   [Full text (PDF)]



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