Utahns still top users of antidepressants

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A new study says more American adults are taking prescription drugs than ever before - and Utah remains the nation's top user of antidepressants.

Express Scripts Inc., a pharmacy benefit management company, analyzed a random sample of 2.2 million patients in 2000 and 3 million patients in 2006, all enrolled in commercial health plans.

The company found the number of people with at least one prescription increased from 67% to 74% between 2000 and 2006. The increasing use of prescription drugs fueled $12 billion in additional spending during 2006 alone, it said.

Utah stood out in two therapy classes: It was one of only four states that did not see a doubling in the percentage of people using drugs to lower cholesterol levels.

And Utah, followed by Kentucky and Maine, had the highest prevalence of people using antidepressants, moving from 16 percent in 2000 to 18.3 percent in 2006.

Previous studies - including statistics gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - have noted Utah's high prevalence of antidepressant use. Psychiatrists have speculated that Utahns are more willing to talk about depression and get treatment, and may have better access to care.

Nationwide, the percentage of people using at least one antidepressant rose by nearly 33 percent.

The complete study, with state-by-state tables, is available at http://www.express-scripts .com/ourcompany/news/outcomesresearch/onlinepublications/.