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Medicines Used in Mental Health – England – quarterly summary statistics October to December 2023

Published 7 March 2024


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 October to December 2023:

There were 23 million antidepressant items prescribed to an estimated 6.8 million identified patients. Compared to the previous quarter, this was a small increase of 1.6% for items and a less than one percentage point increase in identified patients.

Prescribing of hypnotics and anxiolytics items increased by less than one percentage point to 3.4 million. Identified patients decreased by less than one percentage point to 1 million.

For drugs used in psychoses and related disorders, the number of items prescribed was also 3.4 million, a 1.3% increase. Identified patients increased by 1% to 660,000.

The number of CNS stimulants and drugs for ADHD items increased by 1.6% to 730,000. There were 210,000 identified patients, an increase of 1.1%.

Drugs for dementia items increased by 3.2% to 1.1 million, the largest percentage increase in items of the drug groups in this publication. Identified patients increased by 2.5% to 260,000.

Drugs for dementia had the largest change in costs out of the drug groups in this publication, increasing by 11%. CNS stimulants and drugs for ADHD also saw an increase in cost, though this was smaller at less than one percentage point. Costs continued to decrease for antidepressants, hypnotics and anxiolytics, and antipsychotics. This was in contrast to increases in items and identified patients in these three groups.

Resource list

Medicines used in Mental Health - Quarterly summary narrative October to December 2023 (HTML)

Background information and methodology note (HTML)

Medicines used in Mental Health - Quarterly - Prescribing during the COVID-19 pandemic October to December 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 updated the National Statistics Postcode Lookup (NSPL) we use to a newer edition. More details can be found in the background information and methodology note.


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Responsible statistician: Grace Libby