The Quebec Association of Proprietor Pharmacists (AQPP) has released new data on the use of antidepressants in Quebec during COVID-19 — and some of the findings are "worrisome," according to a press release published by the AQPP on February 18.
The association found that antidepressant usage in Quebecers aged 18 to 34 increased by 9.5% from 2019 to 2020. It also found a "considerable increase" in new antidepressant users aged 65 and over.
Increase in antidepressant usage in Quebecers aged 18 to 34
This "significant" one-year increase led the AQPP to do an analysis, the statement says, which confirmed the "link between the current pandemic and the upsurge in the use of medication for mental health problems."
The analysis also found that the length of treatment needed for mental health issues increased across all age groups during the same period, which it says "is a very representative indicator of the severity of the impact of the pandemic."
While March and April 2020 saw a general increase, the trend was reversed in May as Quebec moved out of its confinement period.
However, since August — or the start of the second wave of COVID-19 in Quebec, when many Quebecers were forced into confinement for the second time — antidepressant consumption rose, according to the AQPP.
This shows that confinement could very well have a major impact on antidepressant usage in Quebec.
The AQPP said that over the next few weeks, Quebec community pharmacists will monitor their patients for early warning symptoms related to mental health or anxiety.
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