Use of prevalence and incidence measures to describe age-related prescribing of antidepressants with and without anticholinergic effects

Martine E.C. Van Eijk, Priya Bahri, Gert Dekker, Ron M.C. Herings, Arijan Porsius, Jerry Avorn, Anthonius De Boer

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5 Citations (Scopus)


To evaluate whether physicians avoid prescribing highly anticholinergic antidepressants (AAD) in the elderly, a population-based retrospectively data analysis was performed using databases from a Dutch health insurance company. Data collected on approximately 240,000 persons covered the period from 1 July 1993 to 1 January 1996. The prevalence and the incidence (number of new starters) of antidepressant use was measured over 1994 and 1995. Use of AAD was proportionally higher in the elderly in terms of both prevalence and incidence rates; the ratio of starters of AAD versus starters of non-AAD in 1994 increased steadily with age (from 0.54 in the age group 20-29 to 1.15 in the age group 60-69). In 1995 these incidence ratios decreased (0.41 to 0.99, respectively); however, the decrease was higher in the younger age groups. The data indicate that in the population studied, physicians do not refrain from prescribing highly anticholinergic agents to older patients despite their potential adverse drug reactions in this age group. This study also indicates that prevalence and incidence rates can be extracted from reimbursement data and give insight into actual prescribing practices. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-651
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000


  • Aged
  • Antidepressive agents
  • Drug utilization (review)
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Prevalence, incidence

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