Published 9 March 2023
Mental health is a key area of the NHS Long Term Plan published in 2019.
This publication aims to describe the prescribing of medicines used to improve mental health in England that are subsequently dispensed in the community. They do not include data on medicines used in secondary care, prisons, or issued by a private prescriber.
This is an experimental Official Statistics release.
Between October to December 2022:
Of the 5 British National Formulary (BNF) drugs groups covered in these statistics, antidepressants remained the drug group with the largest number of identified patients and items prescribed. Between October to December 2022, 22 million antidepressants were prescribed to an estimated 6.6 million identified patients. These were small increases compared to the previous quarter.
Prescribing of CNS stimulants and drugs for ADHD increased by 6% over the same period to 650,000 items, the largest percentage change of all drug groups in this publication. Antipsychotics and drugs for dementia also showed small increases in prescribing.
Hypnotics and anxiolytics were the only group of drugs that showed a decrease in prescribing between October to December 2022. Identified patients decreased by a slightly greater proportion than items, but remained above one million patients.
All drug groups saw a small decrease in both items prescribed and identified patients from November to December 2022. This is the first time since 2018 that items and identified patients have both decreased during this time of year across all sections.
Changes to these statistics
For this release, we have made changes to the methodology of the model used to explore the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on prescribing trends. We are interested in any feedback about the publication or these changes, which you can send by using our official statistics feedback survey.
Medicines used in Mental Health - Quarterly summary narrative October to December 2022
Background information and methodology note
Supporting summary tables (Excel:94 KB)
User engagement strategy (ODT:229 KB)
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Responsible statistician: Grace Libby