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NHS Business Services Authority releases latest mental health medicines statistics

NHS Business Services Authority’s (NHSBSA) latest statistics ‘Medicines used in Mental Health – England Quarterly Summary’ have been released today (04/03/2021).

Five main groups of medicines are covered by the publication: Hypnotics and anxiolytics (used to treat insomnia and anxiety); antidepressants; drugs for dementia; drugs used in psychoses and related disorders; and central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and drugs used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The data is based on community prescribing and excludes hospitals and prisons.

Key findings during this summary period, October – December 2020:

  • 20.5 million antidepressant drugs were prescribed between October and December 2020. (This was a 5% increase from 19.6 million items in the previous quarter, and a 6% increase from 19.3 million items when compared with the same quarter in 2019/20).
  • Prescribing of drugs for dementia continued to show a downward trend. 1.02 million items of drugs for dementia were prescribed between October and December 2020, a 5% decrease from the same quarter in 2019/20. There were 226 thousand identified patients between October and December 2020, a 4% decrease in patients from the same quarter in 2019/20.
  • There was a larger increase in prescribing in all drug groups between November and December 2020 than the same period in the previous year. On average this was five per cent greater than increases in that 2019 period.

To see the full statistical reports follow the links below:

For dates of upcoming statistical publication releases, including the annual Prescriptions Cost Analysis, visit:

This is an experimental official statistic. NHSBSA applies the UK Statistics Authority’s Code of Practice for Statistics when producing our official statistics. Further information can be found in our compliance statement. The Code of Practice for Statistics sets the standards that producers of official statistics should commit to.

Contact Information

Sahdia Hassen