Published 8 July 2021
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.
Between January to March 2021:
there were 20.2 million antidepressant drugs prescribed, a 1% decrease from 20.5 million items in the previous quarter, and a 3% increase from 19.6 million items for the same quarter in 2019/20.
drugs for dementia continued to show a downward trend with 982,000 items prescribed, a 4% decrease from 1.02 million items in the previous quarter, and a 6% decrease from 1.05 million items in the same quarter in 2019/20.
In the 13 month period since the implementation of lockdown measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, between March 2020 and March 2021:
there were 803,000 more antidepressant prescription items issued than expected based on historical trends. However, this was not a statistically significant increase for the period.
there were 363,000 fewer drugs for dementia prescription items issued than expected based on historical trends. This was a statistically significant decrease for the period.
Medicines Used in Mental Health - Quarterly summary narrative January to March 2021 (HTML)
Supporting summary tables (Excel: 149KB)
Background information and methodology note (PDF: 235KB)
User engagement strategy (PDF: 192KB)
Pre-release access list (PDF: 125KB)
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Responsible statistician: Matthew Wilson