Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Unhappy pills

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 10 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5409
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

It’s an annual event. The Daily Mail again proclaims we are a nation of “happy pill” poppers.1 Prescriptions of antidepressants rose by 9.1% (3.9 million) to 46.7 million prescriptions this year,2 almost one for every adult in the country. Doctors prickle at press criticism, and naturally tend towards defensiveness. We suggest that these drugs are used appropriately, and the increase in prescriptions reflects longer, better treatment, not a progressively growing medicalisation of mood.3 Any suggestion that our prescription policy might be wrong is swiftly rounded on—doubters are ignorant, …

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