Sociodemographic correlates of antidepressant utilisation in Australia

Page, Andrew N., Swannell, Sarah, Martin, Graham, Hollingworth, Samantha, Hickie, Ian B. and Hall, Wayne D. (2009) Sociodemographic correlates of antidepressant utilisation in Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 190 9: 479-483.

Author Page, Andrew N.
Swannell, Sarah
Martin, Graham
Hollingworth, Samantha
Hickie, Ian B.
Hall, Wayne D.
Title Sociodemographic correlates of antidepressant utilisation in Australia
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-729X
Publication date 2009-05-04
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 190
Issue 9
Start page 479
End page 483
Total pages 5
Editor Martin Van Der Weyden
Place of publication Sydney, Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Co.
Language eng
Subject C1
111714 Mental Health
920413 Social Structure and Health
Abstract Objective: To investigate sociodemographic variation in antidepressant utilisation.
Formatted abstract
To investigate sociodemographic variation in antidepressant utilisation.
Design and setting: Cross-sectional analysis of antidepressant prescription under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia, 2003–2005.

Main outcome measures:

Antidepressant utilisation (defined daily dose/1000/day) by sex, age, socioeconomic status (SES) and geographichal area.


Total antidepressant utilisation increased with age. Among those aged ≥ 15 years, female utilisation was about double that of males. About half of antidepressant utilisation was accounted for by sertraline, venlafaxine, citalopram, and paroxetine. SES differentials in antidepressant utilisation changed across age groups for males and females: among those aged ≤ 19 years, total antidepressant utilisation was significantly less in lower SES groups (P < 0.001); there was no relationship to SES among 20–29-year-olds; and among those aged ≥ 30 years, antidepressant utilisation was significantly higher in lower SES groups (P < 0.001). SES differences were attenuated after adjusting for urban or rural residence, but remained statistically significant. Antidepressant utilisation rates were highest in regional centres.


Antidepressant utilisation in Australia partially reflects sociodemographic differences in the prevalence of affective disorder. Discrepancies between treatment provision and treatment need suggest that not all social strata in Australia have equal access to these treatments. 
Keyword Mental-disorders
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 22 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 24 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 18:01:44 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Psychiatry - Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital