Psychotropic drug use by women: Current prevalence and associations

D. Mazza, L. Dennerstein, V. Ryan

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Objective: To determine the current prevalence of psychotropic drug use by women and any association between use and demographic variables. Design: A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey. Setting: Metropolitan Melbourne between November 1993 and February 1994. Subjects: Consecutive women aged over 18, attending 15 randomly selected general practices for a consultation. Outcome measures: Psychotropic drugs taken in the last year and duration of their use, reported by the doctor from the patients' clinical notes and patient interview. Patient demographic characteristics. Results: The questionnaire was returned complete for 2048/3026 women. Of these, 20.4% had taken at least one psychotropic drug for at least a month in the past year. Most of these women had taken the drug for longer than 12 months and a quarter had taken more than one psychotropic drug in the past year. Psychotropic drug use by women was significantly associated with increasing age, having been married, parity, lower educational attainment, manual occupation, unemployment and being supported by a government pension. Conclusions: Psychotropic drug use by women is common and mostly long term. Psychotropic drugs should be prescribed carefully and judiciously, with continual review of the indications for their use and with an awareness of the association with social situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-89
Number of pages4
JournalThe Medical Journal of Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

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