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Medicines Used in Mental Health – England - Quarterly Summary Statistics July to September 2023

Published 7 December 2023


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.

The Medicines Used in Mental Health publication is an experimental Official Statistic release.

Key findings

Between July to September 2023:

There were 22 million antidepressants prescribed to an estimated 6.8 million identified patients. This was a small increase in items and identified patients compared to the previous quarter, at 1.5% for items and less than one percentage point for patients.

Over the same period, prescribing of hypnotics and anxiolytics items increased by 1% to 3.4 million and identified patients increased by 1.4% to 1 million.

Drugs used in psychoses and related disorders also saw 3.4 million items prescribed, a 1.3% increase. There was an increase of less than 1% for identified patients, to 650,000.

Prescribing of CNS stimulants and drugs for ADHD items also increased by less than one percentage point, to 720,000 items. Identified patients increased by 2.6% to 210,000 patients.

The number of drugs for dementia items prescribed increased by 3.1% to 1.1 million. This was the largest percentage increase in items out of the drug groups in this publication. Identified patients increased by 2.3%.

Total Net ingredient Cost (NIC) decreased for antidepressants, hypnotics and anxiolytics, and antipsychotics, despite increases in identified patients and items in these drug groups. The total NIC increased for CNS stimulants and drugs for ADHD, and drugs for dementia. Antidepressants had the largest change in total NIC of the drug groups in this publication, with a 6.8% decrease.

Resource list

Medicines used in Mental Health - Quarterly summary narrative July to September 2023 (HTML)

Background information and methodology note (HTML)

You can use the background information and methodology note to help you understand and interpret the data and analysis in this release. It also contains information on the strengths and limitations of the data.

Medicines used in Mental Health - Quarterly - prescribing during the COVID-19 pandemic July to September 2023 (HTML)

Pre-release access list (HTML)

This publication has been produced using a reproducible analytical pipeline (RAP) as part of our commitment to transparency and open code. You can view the code used in this RAP on our Medicines Used in Mental Health GitHub repository

Changes to these statistics

For this release, we've added new measures to the summary tables for each British National Formulary (BNF) section. These include:

  • the items per identified patient by month and chemical substance
  • the Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) per identified patient by month and chemical substance
  • the number of identified patients by age band and gender per 1,000 of the population


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Contact us

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Responsible statistician: Grace Libby