Korean J Psychopharmacol.  2007 Nov;18(6):399-407.

Changes of Medication Usage in Inpatients with Major Depressive Disorder: One University Hospital between Year 2001 and 2006

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea. wmbahk@catholic.ac.kr


Prescription patterns have changed rapidly due to the development of new drugs, results of new researches, and increment of clinician's experience. The goal of this study was to examine and compare the trend of prescription patterns for major depressive disorder at a university hospital between year 2001 and 2006.
We evaluated the medication usage of inpatients with major depressive disorder in 2001 and 2006, including antidepressants used as the first choice, switching, and combination, and various augmentation agents. And we evaluated the time to switching and combination of antidepressant in 2001 and 2006.
The antidepressants used as first line drug were SSRIs (49.3%), mirtazapine (24.0%), and TCAs (4.8%) in 2001, and SSRIs (50.0%), mirtazapine (24.7%) and venlafaxine (19.0%) in 2006, in frequency order. The antidepressants used as switching drug were TCAs (33.3%), mirtazapine (25.0%), and nefazodone (16.7%) in 2001, and SSRIs (33.3%), mirtazapine (33.3%), and venlafaxine (19.0%) in 2006. As combination treatment, SSRIs and TCAs combination was used mostly by far in 2001 (87.5%), but in 2006, various combination were used including SSRIs and mirtazapine, SSRIs and TCAs, mirtazapine and venlafaxine (36.8%, 23.6%, 18.4%, respectively). The time to combination in 2001 and 2006 year were not different significantly (17.4+/-7.9 day vs 18.0+/-12.9 day, respectively; p=0.829) but the time to switching was significantly shorter in 2006 than in 2001 (13.1+/-7.5 day vs 24.1+/-11.7day; p=0.009). The use of typical antipsychotics as augmentation agent decreased and the use of atypical antipsychotics increased significantly in 2006. Most frequently used atypical antipsychotic was quetiapine in 2006. The use of thyroid hormone and trazodone were significantly decreased in 2006, but the use of mood stabilizer was not changed between 2001 and 2006. While the use of lithium decreased, the use of lamotrigine increased in 2006.
The results of the present study suggested that there were lots of change in prescription patterns for major depressive disorder between 2001 and 2006. Especially, these changes could be seen in use of various antidepressants, increment in use of atypical antipsychotics and lamotrigine. It can reflect not only the current progress of psychopharmacology and clinical experience, but also the clinical complexity of treatment of depression.


Major depressive disorder; Prescription pattern; Antidepressant

MeSH Terms

Antidepressive Agents
Antipsychotic Agents
Depressive Disorder, Major*
Thyroid Gland
Quetiapine Fumarate
Venlafaxine Hydrochloride
Antidepressive Agents
Antipsychotic Agents
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