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Are men under-treated and women over-treated with antidepressants? Findings from a cross-sectional survey in Sweden

  • Lena Thunander Sundbom (a1) (a2), Kerstin Bingefors (a1), Kerstin Hedborg (a2) and Dag Isacson (a1)
Abstract
Aims and method

To examine gender differences in self-reported depression and prescribed antidepressants (ADs). The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to assess depression, and information on prescribed ADs was obtained from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.

Results

Depression was reported by 11.7% of the participants (12.3% men and 11.2% women). ADs were prescribed for 7.6% of the participants (5.3% men, 9.8% women). Among men, 1.8% reported depression and used ADs, 10.5% reported depression but did not use ADs, and 3.6% used ADs but did not report depression. The corresponding figures for women were 2.6%, 8.6% and 7.2%.

Clinical implications

Men report depression to a greater extent than women but are prescribed ADs to a lesser extent, possibly a sign of under-treatment. Women are prescribed ADs without reporting depression more often than men, possibly a sign of over-treatment. Although the causes remain unclear, diagnostic and treatment guidelines should benefit from considering gender differences in these respects.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Lena Thunander Sundbom (lts@hig.se)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Are men under-treated and women over-treated with antidepressants? Findings from a cross-sectional survey in Sweden

  • Lena Thunander Sundbom (a1) (a2), Kerstin Bingefors (a1), Kerstin Hedborg (a2) and Dag Isacson (a1)
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