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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.