Prescription rates in London increase during lockdown!
Data from NHS Digital shows there was an overall increase of 9.3% in medicines prescribed in England in March 2020 compared to March 2019. This effect was seen to varying extents across most types of medicines.
NHS Sutton prescribed more antidepressant, anti-insomnia and anti-anxiety medication combined per 1,000 patients than any other CCG in NHS London.
NHS Brent prescribed the least medication at the start of lockdown (52.8 per 1,000 patients).
Prescriptions in March 2020 per 1,000 patients vs deprivation ranking
|CCG||Deprivation Ranking||Prescriptions / 1000 patients||Anti-Anxiety / 1000 patients||Antidepressant / 1000 patients||Insomnia / 1000 patients|
|NHS Tower Hamlets||22||87.5||2.7||80.3||4.4|
|NHS Hammersmith and Fulham||71||87.5||7.9||69.9||9.8|
|NHS Barking and Dagenham||7||83.9||5.2||68.2||10.5|
|NHS West London||78||70.3||7.1||52.2||11|
|NHS Central London (Westminster)||113||68.7||5.7||53.9||9.1|
|NHS City and Hackney||9||59.5||4.7||48.9||5.9|
|NHS Waltham Forest||40||58.2||3.7||47.9||6.6|
Alistair Murray, Chief Pharmacist at Echo commented:
“A lot of people ordered their next prescription early because there was so much uncertainty about how lockdown would work and people didn’t want to be left without medicines. This led to some short term supply issues across the country but wasn’t as marked as the panic-buying that we saw in supermarkets and the medicines supply chain returned to normal quite quickly.
“With antidepressants, we know that people can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking them suddenly so it’s not surprising that people didn’t want to risk running out of their antidepressants.
“It’s unlikely that the increase at this stage is due to new prescriptions because there is normally a gap between initial contact with a GP and the time of first prescription while other options such as talking therapies are considered.
However, we know from various surveys that many people have experienced a worsening of their mental health during COVID and lockdown so we will be revisiting the data for May and June once it becomes available as this will show some of the more lasting impact of lockdown on mental health.”