Characteristics of antidepressant medication users in a cohort of mid-age and older Australians

Ellie Paige*, Rosemary J. Korda, Anna Kemp, Bryan Rodgers, Emily Banks

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: We aimed to investigate antidepressant use, including the class of antidepressant, in mid-age and older Australians according to sociodemographic, lifestyle and physical and mental health-related factors. Methods: Baseline questionnaire data on 111,705 concession card holders aged ≥45 years from the 45 and Up Study-a population-based cohort study from New South Wales, Australia-were linked to administrative pharmaceutical data. Current- and any-antidepressant users were those dispensed medications with Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification codes beginning N06A, within ≤6 months and ≤19 months before baseline, respectively; non-users had no antidepressants dispensed ≤19 months before baseline. Multinomial logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted relative risk ratios (aRRRs) for predominantly self-reported factors in relation to antidepressant use. Results: Some 19% of the study population (15% of males and 23% of females) were dispensed at least one antidepressant during the study period; 40% of participants used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) only and 32% used tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) only. Current antidepressant use was markedly higher in those reporting: severe versus no physical impairment (aRRR 3.86(95%CI 3.67-4.06)); fair/poor versus xcellent/very good self-rated health (4.04(3.83-4.25)); high/very high versus low psychological distress (7.22(6.81-7.66)); ever- versus never-diagnosis of depression by a doctor (18.85(17.9519.79)); low-dose antipsychotic use versus no antipsychotic use (12.26(9.8515.27)); and dispensing of ≥10 versus <5 other medications (5.97(5.626.34)). Sociodemographic and lifestyle factors were also associated with use, although to a lesser extent. Females, older people, those with lower education and those with poorer health were more likely to be current antidepressant users than non-users and were also more likely to use TCAs-only versus SSRIs-only. Conclusions: Use of antidepressants is substantially higher in those with physical ill-health and in those reporting a range of adverse mental health measures. In addition, sociodemographic factors, including sex, age and education were also associated with antidepressant use and the class of antidepressant used.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)275-290
    Number of pages16
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2015


    Dive into the research topics of 'Characteristics of antidepressant medication users in a cohort of mid-age and older Australians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this