Women are more than twice as likely as men to use antidepressants, and use among White women is at least double that of other races/ethnicities, according to a new analysis from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Here are the actual numbers: 17.7% of women and 8.4% of men used an antidepressant in the 30 days before being interviewed for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Put them together, and it works out to 13.2% of all adults over the 4-year period from 2015 to 2018, Debra J. Brody, MPH, and Qiuping Gu, MD, PhD, said Sept. 4 in an NCHS data brief.
Non-Hispanic White women had a past-30-day prevalence of 22.3%, compared with 10.0% for non-Hispanic Black women, 3.4% for non-Hispanic Asian women, and 8.9% for Hispanic women, based on the NHANES data.
The order was the same for men, but the numbers are lower. Non-Hispanic Whites had the highest antidepressant use at 10.5%, followed by non-Hispanic Blacks (5.0%), non-Hispanic Asians (2.1%), and Hispanics (4.0%). All of the differences between Whites and non-Whites were significant for both women and men, the researchers noted.
A look at trends over time shows that the gap between men and women has widened in the last 10 years. Past-30-day use among women went from 13.8% in 2009-2010 to 18.6% in 2017-2018, with a corresponding increase from 7.1% to 8.7% in men. For women, that change was significant; for men, it was not, Ms. Brody and Dr. Gu said.
The sample size averaged just over 6,000 for each of the five 2-year NHANES cycles included in the analysis. The survey includes a household interview and a physical examination at a mobile exam center.