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Medicines Used in Mental Health – England – Quarterly Summary Statistics October to December 2021

Published 3 March 2022.


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

Between October to December 2021:

  • there were 21.2 million antidepressant drugs prescribed, a 1.88% increase from 20.8 million items in the previous quarter, and a 3.48% increase from 20.5 million items compared with the same quarter in 2020/21.
  • CNS stimulants and drugs used for ADHD have shown an increase of 7.75%, with 548,000 items in this quarter compared to 509,000 items in the previous quarter. This is also a 12.6% increase on 487,000 items from the same quarter in 2020/21.

In the 22-month period since the implementation of lockdown measures during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, between March 2020 and December 2021 there were:

  • 1.71 million more antidepressant prescription items issued than expected based on historical trends. However, this was not a statistically significant increase for the period.
  • 753,000 fewer drugs for dementia prescription items issued than expected based on historical trends. This was a statistically significant decrease for the period.

Resource list

Medicines used in Mental Health - Quarterly summary narrative October to December 2021 (HTML)

Supporting summary tables (Excel: 90KB)

Background information and methodology note (ODT: 245KB)

User engagement strategy (ODT: 229KB)

Pre-release access list (ODT: 218KB)


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Responsible statistician: Grace Libby