383,081 anti-depressants dispensed in Western Trust last year

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The number of anti-depressants dispensed by doctors and pharmacists over the past three years in the Western Trust was in each year more than the entire population of the health authority, the Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has confirmed.

The amount of anti-depressants dispensed here rose from 389,969 in 2013/14, to 403,798 in 2014/15 before falling back to 383,081 last year.

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill provided details of the “anti-depressant items dispensed by a community pharmacist, dispensing doctor or appliance supplier, and presented for payment” over the three year period.

Most of the drugs were prescribed to people aged between the ages of 30 and 80.

In 2013/14, the 50 to 59 age group accounted for the largest number of dispensations with 94,484.

This was equally the case in 2014/15 with 98,572 dispensations and in 2015/16 when there were 94,012 dispensations.