Psychotropic prescribing in catalonia: Results from an epidemiological study

Maria Rubio-valera, Ana Fernández, Juan V. Luciano, Carmel M. Hughes, Alejandra Pinto-meza, Berta Moreno-küstner, Diego J. Palao, Josep Maria Haro, Antoni Serrano-blanco

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mental disorders (MDs) are mainly treated in primary care (PC), where psychotropic drug (PSD) prescribing is highly prevalent. Prescription of PSD is associated with clinical and non-clinical factors.Purpose: To describe the patterns of PSD prescribing over a 12-month period and to determine the factors associated with this in a PC population. Methods: Cross-sectional study. Data were collected on 3815 patients, via patient interview, on sociodemographics and MDs [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV criteria)]. Computerized records provided data on PSD prescribing. Multilevel logistic regressions assessed the factors that influence prescribing. Results: Thirty-four per cent of PC patients were prescribed PSDs >12 months, with anxiolytics being the most commonly prescribed (22%). Fifty-three per cent of patients with any MD in this 12-month period were prescribed PSDs; however, 25% of patients without any of these disorders were also prescribed these medications. Higher rates of prescribing were associated with female gender, older age, presence of MD, being a househusband/housewife, consulting about psychological problems, increasing number of consultations and higher self-perceived disability. PSDs were less likely to be prescribed to patients born outside Spain and those consulting about physical conditions. PSD prescribing was higher in patients previously married and antipsychotic prescribing was higher in patients never married. No statistically significant associations were found between PSD prescription and education. Conclusions: PSD prescribing rates are high in Catalonia and are associated with a number of clinical and non-clinical factors. A significant proportion of patients are receiving these drugs in the absence of MD. These findings need to be considered when prescribing in PC. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-162
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2012


  • Drug prescriptions
  • Mental disorders
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Primary health care
  • Psychotropic drugs


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