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Women more likely than men to take antidepressants

Women are more likely than males to take antidepressants, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That information was part of the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for the years 2005 to 2008.

Among the findings:

  • Overall, 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men with severe depressive symptoms take antidepressant medication.
  • More than one-third of women with moderate depressive symptoms, and less than one-fifth of men with moderate depressive symptoms, take antidepressant medication.
  • Use of antidepressant medication rises as severity of depressive symptoms increases among both males and females.

Women are also uniquely susceptible to some of the risks of antidepressant use. A number of studies have linked pregnant women’s use of antidepressants classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, with dangerous heart and lung defects in newborns.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys are designed to be nationally representative of the U.S. civilian population, and the sample includes about 5,000 people of all ages.

Other key findings regarding antidepressants:

  • 11 percent of Americans aged 12 years and over take antidepressants.
  • About one-third of people with severe depressive symptoms take antidepressants.
  • More than 60 percent of Americans taking antidepressants have taken them for two years or longer, with 14 percent having taken them for 10 years or more.
  • Less than one-third of Americans taking one antidepressant medication and less than one-half of those taking multiple antidepressants have seen a mental health professional in the past year.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

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