Gender differences in medication prescribing patterns for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A 10-year follow-up study

J Trauma Stress. 2022 Dec;35(6):1586-1597. doi: 10.1002/jts.22861. Epub 2022 Jul 7.


Women veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have historically received more psychiatric medications than men. The current analysis identified prescribing trends of medications recommended for (i.e., select antidepressants) and against (i.e., benzodiazepines, select antidepressants, antipsychotics, and select anticonvulsants) use in PTSD treatment among women and men in 2010-2019. All veterans receiving care for PTSD in 2019 were identified using national U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administrative data. Multivariable logistic regression analyses, adjusted for demographic characteristics and psychiatric comorbidities, were used to contrast the likelihood of receiving a medication class across genders. Sensitivity analyses using identical selection methods were conducted for the calendar years 2010, 2013, and 2016. In 2019, 877,785 veterans received treatment for PTSD within the VA, 13.5% of whom were women. Across medication classes and years, women were more likely to receive all psychiatric medications of interest. Relative to men, women were slightly more likely to receive antidepressants recommended for PTSD in 2019, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.07, 95% CI [1.06, 1.09]. However, gender differences for medications recommended against use for PTSD were notably larger, including benzodiazepines, aOR = 1.62, 95% CI [1.59, 1.65]; anticonvulsants. aOR = 1.41, 95% CI [1.38, 1.44]; and antidepressants recommended against use for PTSD, aOR = 1.26, 95% CI [1.19, 1.33]. To inform tailored intervention strategies, future work is needed to fully understand why women receive more medications recommended against use for PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / drug therapy
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / psychology
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans* / psychology


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Benzodiazepines