Stimulant medication dispensing increasing in Australia

January 01, 0001

Stimulant medication dispensing increasing in Australia

Internationally there has been an increase in the prescriptions of stimulant medication. The aim of this study by researchers from Australia was to examine longitudinal national trends of stimulant dispensing in Australia between 2002 and 2009. Government databases were retrospectively reviewed for all dispensed stimulant prescriptions between 2002 and 2009. Prescriptions were converted to defined daily dose (DDD)/1000 population/day using census data.

Between 2002 and 2009, dispensing of stimulants in Australia increased 87% from 2.93 to 5.47 DDD/1000 population/day. Dexamphetamine remained the most commonly dispensed stimulant, with rates of dispensing falling 13% from 2.02 to 1.75 DDD/1000 population/day. Dispensed prescriptions of methylphenidate increased 300% from 0.45 in 2002 to 1.81 DDD/1000 population/day in 2009, attributable to the availability of long-acting preparations. Dispensing of stimulants to males was four-fold greater than to females. There was substantial dispensing of dexamphetamine to those older than 25 years.

The researchers concluded: "Stimulant dispensing in Australia increased between 2002 and 2009 as a result of increased dispensing of long-acting preparations of methylphenidate. Further research is required to determine if the increase in stimulant dispensing in Australia is clinically appropriate."

Appropriateness is so worth exploring, especially in an area of difficult diagnoses.

For the full abstract, click here.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry published online 27December 2010
© Informa Pic
Australian national trends in stimulant dispensing: 2002-2009. Samantha A Hollingworth, Lisa M Nissen, Stephen S Stathis et al. Correspondence to James G Scott: [email protected]

Category: Keywords: dexamphetamine, dispensing, methylphenidate, pharmacoepidemiology, stimulants, national dispensing trends, database review, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 11 February 2011

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