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Schwalsberger, K; Reininghaus, B; Reiter, A; Dalkner, N; Fleischmann, E; Fellendorf, F; Platzer, M; Reininghaus, EZ.
Sex-Related Differences in the Pharmacological Treatment of Major Depression - Are Women and Men Treated Differently?
Psychiatr Danub. 2022; 34(2): 219-228. Doi: 10.24869/psyd.2022.219
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Führende Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Schwalsberger Karin
Co-Autor*innen der Med Uni Graz
Dalkner Nina
Fellendorf Frederike
Fleischmann Eva
Platzer Martina
Reininghaus Bernd
Reininghaus Eva

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BACKGROUND: In the last decade, sex-related medicine has become an increasingly important area of research as insights in this field can improve treatment strategies and recovery. The aim of this study was to investigate sex-related differences in the prescription and kinds of psychopharmacological treatment in individuals with unipolar affective disorder. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Data collected on 388 patients attending a psychiatric rehabilitation clinic (194 females, 194 males, mean age 52.3 years, standard deviation 7.8 years), who were matched by age and severity of depression, were analyzed. Depression severity and information on drug type and quantity were assessed at the beginning of the rehabilitation program and compared between women and men. RESULTS: A significant difference between females and males was found in the frequency of prescribing bupropion (females: 3.61%, males: 12.89%; p=0.001) and mirtazapine (females: 5.15%, males: 13.40%; p=0.005). In terms of polypharmacy, the results showed that over 53% of the patients were taking two or more psychotropic substances as a long-term therapy and that 34% of them were taking three to five different substances. No sex-related differences were found concerning the number of psychotropic drugs taken by the patients. CONCLUSION: The higher frequency of prescriptions for bupropion and mirtazapine in men might be explained by the adverse drug reactions of the drugs (e.g., fewer sexually adverse drug reactions, weight gain) and a known interaction with oral contraception. It remains unclear whether these aspects are taken into consideration for each patient in terms of their special needs and conditions or whether it is a decision based on the patient's sex. Given a similar severity of depression, men and women are prescribed a similar number of psychotropic substances. However, the high number of psychotropic drugs prescribed on average should be noted. Well-trained healthcare professionals should focus on regularly assessing and optimizing treatment regimens.
Find related publications in this database (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Bupropion - adverse effects
Depression - administration & dosage
Depressive Disorder, Major - drug therapy, epidemiology
Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions - drug therapy
Female - administration & dosage
Humans - administration & dosage
Male - administration & dosage
Middle Aged - administration & dosage
Mirtazapine - administration & dosage
Psychotropic Drugs - adverse effects

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
treatment of major depression
sex-related differences
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