October 7, 2019 - 15:39 AMT
Antidepressant use among over 65s has doubled in UK

The number of older people taking antidepressants has more than doubled in 20 years, The Independent reports citing new research.

Scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) interviewed more than 15,000 over-65s in England and Wales between 1990-1993 and 2008-2011 as part of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies.

The participants were asked about their general health, daily activities, use of health and social care services, and medications.

The researchers then identified people who presented with symptoms of case level depression – more severe than low mood – including loss of energy, interest or enjoyment.

Data showed that just over 10 per cent of over 65s had been prescribed antidepressants between 2008 and 2011.

This is compared to just 4.2 per cent who were using them in the early 1990s.

The increase in antidepressant use comes despite the estimated prevalence of depression in the same age group falling over the same period.