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Br J Gen Pract. 1994 June; 44(383): 275–276.
PMCID: PMC1238901

Antidepressant prescribing: a comparison between general practitioners and psychiatrists.

Abstract

BACKGROUND. The 'defeat depression' campaign emphasizes the importance of adequate prescribing of antidepressants in general practice. AIM. A study was undertaken to investigate the prescribing habits of a group of general practitioners and psychiatrists. METHOD. A postal questionnaire was sent to 123 general practitioners and 97 psychiatrists in south Wales. RESULTS. The response rate among general practitioners was 60% and among psychiatrists it was 67%. As a group, the psychiatrists reported using significantly higher daily dosages of antidepressant medication for adult and for elderly patients over a longer period compared with general practitioners. Fifty two per cent of 68 general practitioners and 17% of 60 psychiatrists reported using lower than recommended daily treatment dosages for adult patients and 40% of 68 general practitioners and 7% of 62 psychiatrists used a shorter than recommended period of continuation therapy (less than four months). Both groups showed a wide variation in the use of maintenance therapy. CONCLUSION. Educational efforts should be made to improve the prescribing habits of general practitioners and psychiatrists.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Paykel ES, Priest RG. Recognition and management of depression in general practice: consensus statement. BMJ. 1992 Nov 14;305(6863):1198–1202. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Quitkin FM. The importance of dosage in prescribing antidepressants. Br J Psychiatry. 1985 Dec;147:593–597. [PubMed]
  • Kupfer DJ. Maintenance treatment in recurrent depression: current and future directions. The first William Sargant Lecture. Br J Psychiatry. 1992 Sep;161:309–316. [PubMed]
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  • Catalan J, Gath DH, Bond A, Edmonds G, Martin P, Ennis J. General practice patients on long-term psychotropic drugs. A controlled investigation. Br J Psychiatry. 1988 Mar;152:399–405. [PubMed]

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners