A study of prescription records in Quebec, Canada finds nearly half of all antidepressants are prescribed for conditions that aren’t depression, and oftentimes for conditions that aren’t officially approved for use by regulatory agencies, reports Medical Daily.
The term “antidepressant” is increasingly becoming a misnomer, suggests new research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers, led by Professor Jenna Wong of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, examined the prescription records of patients who visited select physicians in the province of Quebec from 2006 to 2015, specifically looking at those who were given antidepressants. Out of 100,000 such prescriptions, Wong’s team found that only 55 percent were indicated for the purpose of actually treating depression. The remaining 45 percent were intended as treatments for anxiety disorders, pain, and insomnia, and many other conditions. And 30 percent of the prescriptions fit the criteria of off-label use, meaning they were given out under circumstances never officially approved by regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“I wasn’t surprised by the indications themselves, but I was surprised by the extent,” Wong told Medical Daily.