International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine - Volume 23, issue 2
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The International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine is concerned with rendering the practice of medicine as safe as it can be; that involves promoting the highest possible quality of care, but also examining how those risks which are inevitable can be contained and managed.
This is not exclusively a drugs journal. Recently it was decided to include in the subtitle of the journal three items to better indicate the scope of the journal, i.e. patient safety, pharmacovigilance and liability and the Editorial Board was adjusted accordingly. For each of these sections an Associate Editor was invited. We especially want to emphasize patient safety. Our journal wants to publish high quality interdisciplinary papers related to patient safety, not the ones for domain specialists. For quite some time we have also been devoting some pages in every issue to what we simply call WHO news. This affinity with WHO underlines both the International character of the journal and the subject matter we want to cover. Basic research, reports of clinical experience and overviews will all be considered for publication, but since major reviews of the literature are often written at the invitation of the Editorial Board it is generally advisable to consult with the Editor in advance. Submission of news items will be appreciated, as will be the contribution of letters on topics which have been dealt with in the journal.
Abstract: Background: Prescribing of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) has increased dramatically. Objective: To compare the sales of benzodiazepines and SSRIs within the primary care sector in Denmark and relate changes in usage to number of indications and products on the market. Methods: We used data from various sources to establish the sales curves of psychotropic drugs in the period 1970 to 2007, based on the Anatomic Therapeutic Classification system and Defined Daily Doses. Results: Fluctuations in sales of psychotropic drugs that cannot be explained by disease prevalence were caused by changes in sales of the benzodiazepines and SSRIs. We found…a decline in the sales of benzodiazepines after a peak in 1986, likely due to the recognition that they cause dependence. From a low level in 1992, we found that the sales of SSRIs increased almost linearly by a factor of 18, up to 44 DDD per 1000 inhabitants, which was closely related to the number of products on the market that increased by a factor of 16. Conclusions: Sales of antidepressant drugs are mainly determined by market availability of products indicating that marketing pressures are playing an important role. Thus the current level of use of SSRIs may not be evidence-based, which is supported by studies showing that the effect of SSRIs has been overestimated.