Questionnaires were sent to 92 doctors asking them about aspects of their antidepressant prescribing; 72 returned them. Sixty had prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the previous year. The ratio of SSRIs to all antidepressants prescribed in the previous year exceeded 40% in only eight doctors. Inability to tolerate and failure to respond to established antidepressants were the most common indications for prescribing SSRIs. Side effects and cost were the most common reasons deterring doctors from prescribing SSRIs. SSRIs being new products and doubts regarding their efficacy were factors that were significantly more likely to deter ‘doctors of other grades' than consultants from prescribing them. Fluoxetine and paroxetine were the most frequently prescribed SSRIs.
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