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Medicines Used in Mental Health - England - 2015/16 to 2019/20

Published 10 September 2020

Summary

Mental health is a key area of the NHS Long Term Plan published in 2019.

This publication aims to describe the prescribing of medicines used to improve mental health in England that are subsequently dispensed in the community. They do not include data on medicines used in secondary care, prisons, or issued by a private prescriber.

This is an experimental Official Statistics release.

Key findings

  • The number of prescriptions for medicines used in mental health has increased between 2015/16 and 2019/20. Both the number of prescription items and the number of patients prescribed those items increased. There was increased use of prescription medicines used for:

    • drugs used in psychoses and related disorders
    • antidepressant drugs
    • central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and drugs used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • drugs for dementia.
  • There was a reduction in the use of prescription medicines used for hypnotics and anxiolytics over the same period.

  • Four out of the five groups of mental health drugs had a larger number of prescription medicines being prescribed to females than males. The exception to this is CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD, to almost three times as many males as females being prescribed these medications.

  • All five groups of medicines used in mental health were prescribed more often to people living in more deprived areas.

  • For hypnotics and anxiolytics, drugs used in psychoses and related disorders, and antidepressant drugs prescribing was most prevalent in patients aged 40-65. Prescribing for CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD was most prevalent in patients aged 24 and under, and drugs for dementia was most prevalent in patients aged 60 and over.

Resource list

Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - Statistical summary narrative (HTML)

Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - Hypnotics and anxiolytics summary tables (Excel: 347KB)Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - Drugs used in psychoses and related disorders summary tables (Excel: 497KB)Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - Antidepressant drugs summary tables (Excel: 459KB)Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD summary tables (Excel: 190KB)Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - Drugs for dementia summary tables (Excel: 155KB)Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - Pre-release access list (PDF: 233KB)Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - Background information and methodology note (PDF: 245KB)Medicines Used in Mental Health 2015/16 to 2019/20 - User engagement strategy (PDF: 248KB)

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Responsible statistician: Matthew Wilson