Continuing versus New Antidepressant Use in Older Adults: US Prescribing Trends from 2006 to 2015

Taeho Greg Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Antidepressant use has increased in older adults recently. This study examines the trends of antidepressant prescribing by prescription status (continuing vs. new prescriptions). Methods: Data were collected from 2006 to 2015 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a nationally representative sample of office-based outpatient visits. I limited the sample to adults aged 65 or older (n = 10,708 unweighted). Using a repeated cross-sectional design with survey sampling techniques, prevalence rates of antidepressant prescriptions were estimated by prescription status. Stratified analyses were also performed by key variables (e.g., age, gender, and race/ethnicity). Results: Continuing antidepressant prescriptions increased over time significantly (OR = 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03–1.11), and no temporal trend was found in new antidepressant prescriptions. In stratified analyses, the increasing trends of continuing antidepressant prescriptions were pronounced in visits to primary care physicians (OR = 1.06; 95% CI, 1.01–1.12). Conclusion: Increasing antidepressant prescribing trends were found in continuing prescriptions. Continued antidepressant prescribing among older adults should be monitored for appropriate use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-555
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Geriatric Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding The study received funding support from the National Institute on Aging of National Institutes of Health (#T32AG019134).

Funding Information:
Disclaimers Publicly available data were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Analyses, interpretation, and conclusions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Division of Health Interview Statistics or NCHS of the CDC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, European Geriatric Medicine Society.


  • Antidepressant
  • Office-based care
  • Older adults
  • Prescribing patterns


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