New Prescription Fills of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Los Angeles County, California

Published in: Journal of Affective Disorders (2022). doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2022.08.119

Posted on RAND.org on September 09, 2022

by Jonathan S. Levin, Joie D. Acosta, Laura J. Faherty

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Objective

This study examined whether the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with changes in new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) prescription fills.

Methods

Using IQVIA Xponent data on new SSRI fills in Los Angeles (L.A.) County from March 2019 to June 2021, the authors implemented an interrupted time series analysis comparing the monthly volume and trend of overall fills and fills by age and gender from before to after the pandemic declaration.

Results

The rate of new SSRI prescription fills briefly decreased after the pandemic declaration but then consistently increased through the rest of the study period. These increases were primarily driven by women, young adults (i.e., 18–39 year-olds), and those under 18 years old.

Limitations

Sample is limited to one county and may not be generalizable to other municipalities.

Conclusions

The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with significant increases in new SSRI fills among women, young adults, and those under 18. These increases were relatively small compared to increases in depressive symptoms during the same time period.

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