Length of therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants in Australia

The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Peter McManusJohn Dudley


To investigate the proportion of patients starting on either selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) who continued treatment for a period consistent with recommended guidelines for major depression, that is at least 6 months. Cohort study using a national dispensing claims database involving patients eligible for social security entitlements in Australia. Two 'new user' cohorts were established of patients who were supplied a prescription for either an SSRI (6026) or a TCA (4158) in the first week of April 2000 and who had not received a prescription for any antidepressant in the preceding three months. The main outcome measure was the proportion of patients who were still having any SSRI or TCA prescription, respectively, dispensed between 6 and 8 months after initiation. Additionally, for patients starting on either a leading SSRI (sertraline) or TCA (dothiepin), the proportions of those that remained on these drugs or had changed to other antidepressants were determined. The dispensing data are not linked to reason for prescribing in the national dataset. 2267 SSRI 'new users' (38%) were still receiving SSRIs 6-8 months later, compared with 1269 (31%) of the 4158 TCA 'new users' (p...Continue Reading


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