Ethnicity and the prescribing of antidepressant pharmacotherapy: 1992-1995

Harv Rev Psychiatry. May-Jun 1999;7(1):29-36. doi: 10.1093/hrp/7.1.29.

Abstract

Little is known about the prescribing pattern for antidepressant pharmacotherapy by ethnicity. The present study was designed to determine the rates of office-based visits documenting the utilization of antidepressant pharmacotherapy, a diagnosis of a depressive disorder, or both, among whites, blacks, and Hispanics age 20-79 years. Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for 1992-93 and 1994-95 were utilized for this analysis. Comparing these time periods, we observed several trends: (1) The annualized mean rate per 100 US population of office-based visits documenting the use of antidepressant pharmacotherapy for any reason increased from 13.4 to 15.9 among whites (p < or = 0.0001) and from 6.5 to 7.7 among blacks (p < or = 0.0001), but remained unchanged at 7.3 for Hispanics (p > 0.05). (2) Documentation of a diagnosis of a depressive disorder increased for whites (10.9 to 12.0; p < or = 0.0001), for blacks (4.2 to 5.6; p < or = 0.0001), and for Hispanics (4.8 to 5.6; p < or = 0.0001). (3) The recording of a diagnosis of a depressive disorder in concert with the initial prescription or continuation of antidepressant pharmacotherapy also increased for whites (6.5 to 7.7; p < or = 0.0001), for blacks (2.6 to 3.4; p < or = 0.0001), and for Hispanics (3.0 to 3.2; p < or = 0.0001). We conclude that the rate of office-based visits documenting the utilization of antidepressant pharmacotherapy, a diagnosis of a depressive disorder, or both, was comparable among blacks and Hispanics by 1994-95, but was less than half the rate for whites in either time period examined. Further prospective research is required to discern the reasons for observed differences by ethnicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Drug Prescriptions*
  • Drug Therapy / trends*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology

Substances

  • Antidepressive Agents