RESEARCH ARTICLE


The Use of Antidepressant Drugs and the Lifetime Prevalence of Major Depressive Disorders in Italy



Mauro Giovanni Carta*, , Eugenio Aguglia**, Alberto Bocchetta, Matteo Balestrieri***, Filippo Caraci**, Massimo Casacchia°, Liliana Dell’Osso°°, Guido Di Sciascio°°°, Filippo Drago**, Carlo Faravelli#, Maria Efisia Lecca, Maria Francesca Moro, Pier Luigi Morosini##, Marcello Nardini°°°, Gabriella Palumbo##, Maria Carolina Hardoy


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© Carta et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Public Health, University of Cagliari, Italy; Tel: +39 335 499994; Fax: +39 070496294; E-mail: mgcarta@tiscali.it
University of Cagliari
** University of Catania
*** University of Udine
° University of L ’Aquila
°° University of Pisa
°°° University of Bari
# University of Florence
## National Institute of Health, Rome


Abstract

Background:

The increased use of antidepressant drugs (ADs) improved the response to the needs of care although some community surveys have shown that subjects without lifetime psychiatric diagnosis (anxiety/depression) used ADs.

Objectives:

To evaluate the appropriateness and amount of prescription of psychotropic drugs in people with lifetime diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) by means of community survey with a semi-structured interview as a diagnostic instrument, administered by clinicians.

Methods:

Study design: community survey.

Study population: samples randomly drawn, after stratification from the adult population of municipal records. Sample size: 4.999 people were drawn in 7 centres of 6 Italian regions.

Tools:

questionnaire on psychotropic drug consumption, prescription, health services utilization; Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV modified (ANTAS); Training: interviewers were trained psychologists or medical doctors.

Results:

3.398 subjects were interviewed (68% of the recruited sample). The lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV MDD was 4.3% in males and 11.5% in females; antidepressant drugs were taken by 4.7% of subjects, 2.9% male and 5.9% female. 38% of males and 57% of females with lifetime diagnosis of MDD were taking ADs.

Conclusions:

Compared with studies using lay interviewers and structured tools the prevalence of the MDD was quite lower; ADs use was higher and tallied well with the data regarding antidepressant sales in Italy; the correspondence between lifetime diagnosis of MDD and ADs use was closer.

Keywords: Antidepressant drugs, major depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, community survey, lifetime prevalence.