Antipsychotic Prescriptions Among Adults With Major Depressive Disorder in Office-Based Outpatient Settings: National Trends From 2006 to 2015

Objective: A recent moderately long-term study found an antipsychotic to be more effective than an antidepressant as the next-step treatment of unresponsive major depressive disorder (MDD). It is thus timely to examine recent trends in the pharmacoepidemiology of antipsychotic treatment of MDD.

Methods: Data from the 2006–2015 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, nationally representative samples of office-based outpatient visits in adults with MDD (ICD-9-CM codes 296.20–296.26 and 296.30–296.36) (n = 4,044 unweighted), were used to estimate rates of antipsychotic prescribing over these 10 years. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified demographic and clinical factors independently associated with antipsychotic use in MDD.

Results: Antipsychotic prescribing for MDD increased from 18.5% in 2006–2007 to 24.9% in 2008–2009 and then declined to 18.9% in 2014–2015. Visits with adults 75 years or older showed the greatest decline from 27.0% in 2006–2007 to 10.7% in 2014–2015 (OR for overall trend = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56–0.95). The most commonly prescribed antipsychotic agents were aripiprazole, olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone. Antipsychotic prescription was associated with being black or Hispanic, having Medicare among adults under 65 years or Medicaid as a primary source of payment, and receiving mental health counseling, 3 or more concomitant medications, and diagnosis of cannabis use disorder (P < .01).

Conclusions: Antipsychotics, prescribed for about one-fifth of adults with MDD, increased and then declined from 2006 to 2015, reflecting, first, FDA approval and then concern about adverse effects in the elderly. Future research should track evolving trends following the publication of evidence of greater long-term effectiveness of antipsychotic than antidepressant next-step therapy in adults with MDD.

J Clin Psychiatry 2018;79(2):17m11970

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.17m11970