Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Summary Marked differences in the utilisation of psychotropic drugs between the three major urban areas in Sweden were recorded from four sources of information: drug supplies from wholesalers to pharmacies, drug supplies to hospitals for in-patient use, drugs sold on prescription for out-patient use, and out-patient consultation and drug prescribing as recorded by physicians. The total sales of psychotropics in the counties of Gothenburg (110,8 defined daily doses per 1000 inhabitants per day) and Malmö (102,1) were much higher than in the county of Stockholm (73,4), with about 25% of the difference being accounted for by diazepam. Differences in the total sales of psychotropics were not explained by any differences in hospital sales, which amounted to about 10% in all counties. Prescription sales differed due to the higher average number of DDD (defined daily doses) per prescription in Gothenburg and Malmö than in Stockholm (total psychotropics 8 and 15%, respectively), and especially because of the higher number of prescriptions per inhabitant (about 40 and 30–35%, respectively). There was no substantial difference in the pattern of diagnoses between areas, but there was a noticeable difference with regard to prescriber category, as psychiatrists accounted for more of the prescriptions in Stockholm than in Gothenburg and Malmö. The results raise questions about over- and under-treatment of mental disorders and about abuse of drugs. In order to explain the geographical differences in psychotropic drug sales morbidity patterns and prescribing practices should be further explored.
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