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NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has released its latest data via the Medicines Used in Mental Health report, covering July to September 2021.

In this period, 20.8 million antidepressant drugs were prescribed, a 1.28% increase from 20.5 million items in the previous quarter, and a 6.15% increase from 19.6 million items for the same quarter in 2020/21.

For the second quarter running, drugs for dementia showed an upward trend. In the second quarter of 2021/22 there were 1.02 million drugs for dementia prescribed, a 2.53% increase from 997,000 items in the previous quarter. This is also a 1.84% increase from one million items in the same quarter in 2020/21.

In the 19-month period since lockdown measures were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, between March 2020 and September 2021:

  • There were 1.54 million more antidepressant prescription items issued than expected based on historical trends. However, this was not a statistically significant increase for the period.
  • There were 606,000 fewer drugs for dementia prescription items issued than expected based on historical trends. This was a statistically significant decrease for the period.

The report covers five main groups of medicines: Hypnotics and anxiolytics (used to treat insomnia and anxiety); antidepressants; drugs for dementia; drugs used in psychoses and related disorders; and central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and drugs used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The data is based on community prescribing and excludes hospitals and prisons.

To see the full statistical reports follow the links below:

Latest release – Quarterly (July-September 2021): https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/statistical-collections/medicines-used-mental-health-england/medicines-used-mental-health-england-quarterly-summary-statistics-july-september-2021

Annual publication: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/statistical-collections/medicines-used-mental-health-england/medicines-used-mental-health-england-201516-202021

For dates of upcoming statistical publication releases, including the annual Prescriptions Cost Analysis, visit: https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/announcements/statistical-publication-calendar.