Anti-anxiety drug prescriptions rise, spur addiction, abuse concerns

Prescriptions for anti-anxiety and sleep drugs have risen during the pandemic, and physicians are worried about long-term addiction and drug abuse, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

Prescriptions for anti-anxiety drugs, including Klonopin and Ativan, rose 10.2 percent in the U.S. in March compared to the year prior, according to data cited by the Journal

Prescriptions for antidepressants, including Prozac and Lexapro, rose 9.2 percent in the same time period. 

Express Scripts said it saw its prescription numbers for anti-anxiety medications rise 34.1 percent between mid-February and mid-March, according to the Journal. The number of prescriptions for antidepressants rose 18.6 percent, and prescriptions for sleep medications rose 14.8 percent. 

The developers of Ginger, an app that provides video and chat-based mental health services, told the Journal that its psychiatrists wrote 86 percent more prescriptions for psychotropic drugs, primarily antidepressants, in March and April than in January and February. 

Social isolation, health concerns and stress of job losses are all taking a toll on people's mental health, according to the Journal. More than one-third of Americans said the pandemic is having a "serious impact" on their mental health in a survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association. 

Read the full article here.


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