Treatment Indications for Antidepressants Prescribed in Primary Care in Quebec, Canada, 2006-2015 | Anxiety Disorders | JAMA | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
May 24/31, 2016

Treatment Indications for Antidepressants Prescribed in Primary Care in Quebec, Canada, 2006-2015

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • 2School of Pharmacy, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston
JAMA. 2016;315(20):2230-2232. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.3445

Antidepressant use in the United States has increased over the last 2 decades.1 A suspected reason for this trend is that primary care physicians are increasingly prescribing antidepressants for nondepressive indications, including unapproved (off-label) indications that have not been evaluated by regulatory agencies.2 However, the frequency with which physicians prescribe antidepressants for nondepressive indications is unknown because treatment indications are rarely documented. We analyzed the prevalence of treatment indications for antidepressants and assessed temporal trends in antidepressant prescribing for depression.

This study used data from the Medical Office of the 21st Century (MOXXI) research platform.3 MOXXI is an electronic medical record (EMR) and prescribing system that has been used by primary care physicians in community-based, fee-for-service practices around 2 major urban centers in Quebec, Canada. During the study period, approximately 185 physicians (25% of eligible) and 100 000 patients (30% of all who visited a MOXXI physician) gave informed consent to use the EMR and have their information used for research purposes. Compared with nonconsenters, MOXXI physicians were younger and MOXXI patients were older with more health complexities.4