Worries over level of antidepressant prescriptions in South Tyneside

A doctor writes a prescription.

A doctor writes a prescription.

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The North East prescribes more antidepressants than anywhere else in England.

 Our region prescribed, on average, 1.73 prescriptions of antidepressants per person in 2016, higher than the England average of 1.16 and the highest region in the country.

 Last year in South Tyneside, 1.77 prescriptions for antidepressant drugs were issued per head, according to research from database company EXASOL, using NHS figures.

 In Sunderland, the figure was larger – 1.99 prescriptions per head.

 This figure puts the city second nationally only to Blackpool – the only district in England where more than two prescriptions per person per year were given out by GPs.

 South Tyneside came fourth behind Durham and Gateshead.

 Hartlepool came bottom of the North East list with a still-high – compared to elsewhere in the country – 1.38 prescriptions per head of the population.

 According to the study, English pharmacies handed over nine million prescriptions in 1991, which by 2001 had risen to 24.3million.

 In 2011 it was 46million and we have now reached 64million prescriptions.

 The organisation’s chief marketing officer, Sean Jackson, said: “When analysing the data, we can see that the prescribing of anti-depressants has increased by a large amount in recent years.”

 A spokesperson for NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We know that factors like unemployment and poverty increase rates of depression, so it’s not a great surprise to see that there’s higher use of treatments for depression in areas where these are bigger problems.”