Increase in antidepressant use has not led to more overdoses

THE number of Australians on antidepressants has skyrocketed in the past few decades, but the rates of self harm and self-poisonings have not.

Research released in the Medical Journal of Australia today Monday says changes to the types of antidepressants, which are now less toxic, was one of the reasons for a reduction in self-poisoning rates.

The study showed that between 1987 and 2012 the number of people on antidepressants had increased six-fold while the number of poisonings due to antidepressants had increased only 1.34 -fold.

The study's lead author, University of Newcastle's Professor Geoffrey Isbister, said while the types of drugs taken in overdoses had changed substantially, there were only small changes in rates of antidepressant overdoses.

"Interpreting this rather surprising finding is not straightforward".


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