Background and Importance The COVID-19 disease, declared a pandemic in March 2020, radically changed people’s way of life. The health risk, the measures of the state of alarm and its impact at social and economic level have exposed the population to a threat to their psychological well-being.
Aim and Objectives To analyse the relationship between COVID-19 and changes in the trend of psychotropic drug consumption.
Material and Methods Descriptive drug utilisation study which included 665,222 inhabitants. This population is distributed in an urban (UA) (275,990 inhabitants) and rural, peri-urban (RA) (389,232 inhabitants) area. The study period was January 2018 to December 2021. Data were obtained from the database of dispensed and billed prescriptions. The unit used was the Defined Daily Dose (DDD) and the main variable was the DDD per 1000 inhabitants and day (DHD). The therapeutic groups studied were benzodiazepines (N05BA, N05CA, N05CF) and antidepressants (N06AB, N06AX), according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC). Mann–Whitney test was used for statistical analysis.
Results The group of drugs with the greatest increase in consumption was benzodiazepines, followed by antidepressants, the latter being higher in the 2nd and 4th quarter of 2020, coinciding with the first and second wave and higher in rural areas. In antipsychotic dispensations, a slight increase was only observed in the metropolitan area (p<0,05). During the year 2021, the rates of benzodiazepines were decreasing, ending the year at values similar to pre-pandemic rates. In contrast, the increase in antidepressant use was sustained during 2021.
-DHD 2nd Quarter:
UA: 2018:86.71;2019: 83.58; 2020:86.16; 2021:81.71
RA:2018:88.97;2019: 88.95; 2020:97.63; 2021:87.85
UA:2018:38,79; 2019:39,73;2020:40,16;2021 41,38
-DHD 4th Quarter
UA: 2018: 84.67; 2019: 83.15; 2020: 87.60; 2021: 82.00
RA: 2018: 88.42; 2019: 89.97; 2020: 97.38; 2021: 87.84
UA: 2018: 38.73; 2019: 39.72; 2020: 40.99; 2021: 43.14
RA: 2018: 45.12; 2019: 46.24; 2020: 48.91; 2021: 49.19
It was only statistically significant the increase in the consumption of antidepressants (P=0.019) in the periods 2020-2021vs 2018-2019.
Conclusion and Relevance The uncertainty in the first months of the pandemic, bereavement, isolation and the effects of the economic crisis may have favoured an increase in the consumption of antidepressants and benzodiazepines. It would be necessary to reorient clinical practice strategies, promoting the appropriate and safe use of these drugs in the primary and hospital care setting.
Conflict of Interest No conflict of interest.
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