Psychiatric Drug Use Spreads

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The medicating of Americans for mental illnesses continued to grow over the past decade, with one in five adults now taking at least one psychiatric drug such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications, according to an analysis of pharmacy-claims data.

Among the most striking findings was a big increase in the use of powerful antipsychotic drugs across all ages, as well as growth in adult use of drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—a condition typically diagnosed in childhood. Use of ADHD drugs such as Concerta and Vyvanse tripled among those aged 20 to 44 between 2001 and 2010, and it doubled over that time among women in the 45-to-65 group, according to the report.

Overall use of psychiatric medications among adults grew 22% from 2001 to 2010. The new figures, released Wednesday, are based on prescription-drug pharmacy claims of two million U.S. insured adults and children reported by Medco Health Solutions Inc., a pharmacy-benefit manager.

“People from all walks of life are taking medications for mental-health conditions,” said David Muzina, a psychiatrist and head of Medco’s Neuroscience Therapeutic Resource Center, whose team compiled the report….

By SHIRLEY S. WANG

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203503204577040431792673066.html

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