To examine antidepressant prescribing in a general medical hospital in the UK. The data used were extracted from a prescription database prospectively maintained by the hospital pharmacy. All prescriptions of antidepressants over a five-year period, both new and continuation, were recorded.
During the study period there were 2037 prescriptions of tricyclic antidepressants. Only 18% of these prescriptions were at conventional therapeutic doses. This compared with 773 prescriptions of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, 70% of which were at conventional therapeutic doses. It is shown that antidepressants were prescribed at a dose in accordance with the smallest tablet size available.
We suggest that reformulation of tablets to allow one tablet daily prescribing may lead to improved antidepressant prescribing.
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