Ethnicity/race and the diagnosis of depression and use of antidepressants by adults in the United States

David A Sclar, Linda M Robison, Tracy L Skaer
International Clinical Psychopharmacology 2008, 23 (2): 106-9
The objective of this study is to discern ethnic/race-specific (black, Hispanic, white) population-adjusted rates of US office-based visits documenting a diagnosis of depression, and the extent of the use of antidepressant pharmacotherapy for its treatment. Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for the time-frames 1992-1997, and 2003-2004, were partitioned into four, 2-year time intervals for trend analysis among patients aged 20-79 years. From 1992-1993 to 2003-2004, the annualized rate of visits documenting a diagnosis of depression increased from 10.9 to 15.4 per 100 US population for whites, from 4.2 to 7.6 for blacks, and from 4.8 to 7.0 for Hispanics. A concomitant diagnosis of depression and antidepressant use increased from 6.5 to 11.4 per 100 for whites, from 2.6 to 5.2 for blacks, and from 3.0 to 5.6 for Hispanics. It can be concluded that by 2003-2004, diagnostic and treatment rates were comparable among blacks and Hispanic, but were less than half the observed rates for whites.

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