gms | German Medical Science

16th Annual Meeting of the German Drug Utilisation Research Group (GAA)

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

19.11. - 20.11.2009, Berlin

Prescription of antidepressants and comorbidity of depression

Meeting Abstract

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  • corresponding author C. Schicktanz - Center for Social Policy Research (ZES), University of Bremen, Germany
  • G. Glaeske - Center for Social Policy Research (ZES), University of Bremen, Germany
  • K. Janhsen - Center for Social Policy Research (ZES), University of Bremen, Germany

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie e.V. (GAA). 16. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie. Berlin, 19.-20.11.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09gaa21

doi: 10.3205/09gaa21, urn:nbn:de:0183-09gaa211

Published: November 5, 2009

© 2009 Schicktanz et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background and aim: In the last years prescriptions of antidepressants increased substantially. Their efficiency was discussed and also analysed in numerous publications with regard to evidence and effectiveness. Guidelines recommend the prescription of psychotherapy.

The aim of the study was to present the prescription prevalence for people aged 18 years and older according to age, sex, different drugs types and sufficient drug treatment. In addition, we analysed the outpatient care data in regard to psychotherapy and comorbidity.

Material and method: Statutory health insurance data (Gmuender ErsatzKasse (GEK)) from 2000, 2003, and 2005 to 2008 were analysed for the prescription of antidepressants. Prevalence, prescribed packages and DDDs were calculated. Outpatient data of the prescription of psychotherapy and secondary disorders from 2005–2007 was linked with the prescriptions of drugs in 2005–2007 additionally.

Results: The chance for a depression diagnosis is more than twice as high for females than for males, especially in older persons. Likewise, the prescription of antidepressants is higher. The number of prescribed psychotherapy is very low in both sexes. Regarding comorbidities, we found musculoskeletal disorders at the top, followed by mental and behavioural disorders, excluding depression.

Conclusions: People with a depression should be early diagnosed and adequately treated; this especially applies to older patients. A systemic analysis on psychosomatic comorbidity should become important for future research.