Monday, April 1, 2013

Gender and Psychotropic Drug Use

"Gender and Psychotropic Drug Use" explains how psychotropic drug use differs between men and women. Researchers use data from National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) to study the men and and women taking psychotropic drugs.  NAMCS helped researchers develop a choice-based sample of adult office visits resulting in at least one psychotropic prescription. These psychotropic drugs come in four classes: antidepressants, anxiolytics, sedative-hypnotics, and antipsychotics. 
To better understand a man or woman utilization of the psychotropic drugs, specific variables had to be involved in the experiment. Such as the patients age, race/ethnicity, geographic location, reported reason(s) for visits, referral status, repeat visits for the same complaint, and payment source for the visit. Added to each variable were dummy variables such as the payment source: Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare and private, etc.
The results in the experiment show that receiving a psychotropic drug is 55% more likely to happen with women than men. Gender wasn't a significant factor for the antipsychotics or sedatives, the main focus is on antidepressants. Researchers found that antidepressants that were used by women were usually white, referred by another physician, multiple drug mentions, depression, and have musculoskeletal conditions. 
The study came across several limitations which made it hard to collect accurate data on the use of psychotropic drugs. Such as it cannot directly address patient utilization behaviors or physician prescribing patterns.

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