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A psychotropic drug use study among depression patients attending private psychiatric practitioners of Dehradun, Uttarakhand

Shaktibala Dutta, Vijay Kaul, Mirza Atif Beg, Saubhagya Sindhu, Nand Kishore Singh, Srihari Dutta, Shalu Bawa, Mohammad Anjoom, Ankita Negi.


Background: Drug use studies are beneficial in clinical practice for rational prescribing of drugs and helpful for minimizing the medication errors.

Objectives: The present study investigates the prescribing pattern of various antidepressants among private practitioners of Dehradun, Uttarakhand.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective observational study was carried out in a private psychiatric unit at Dehradun. A total of 196 prescriptions were analyzed using World Health Organization drug use indicators and National Essential Medicine List (NEML) 2013.

Results: Among 196 prescriptions, 54.08% were for females and 45.92% were for males. Depression was more commonly seen in patients in aged 31–50 years. Depression was more common among housewives (28.06%) and in married (52.04%) people. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (39.17%) were the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants followed by serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (33.33%). Fluoxetine and escitalopram were the most commonly prescribed SSRIs. Alprazolam (59.33%) was most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine class followed by lorazepam (16.0%) for comorbid anxiety symptoms. Among patients, 18.48% antipsychotics were prescribed to patients; olanzapine and risperidone (atypical antipsychotics) were the most commonly prescribed. Trihexyphenidyl was the most common anticholinergic prescribed. The average number of drugs per prescription in our study was 3.03 with 55.39% drugs prescribed from the NEML 2013.

Conclusion: Fluoxetine and escitalopram were the most commonly used SSRIs. SSRIs are preferred over other antidepressants because of their relative lesser side effects. Polypharmacy was observed with benzodiazepines as frequent coprescription.

Key words: Drug use, antidepressants, antipsychotics, rational prescribing

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