Revue médicale de Liège vol:60 issue:3 pages:181-8
OBJECTIVE: To assess psychotropic drug utilization in the general population of Belgium, and the pattern of use in individuals with mental disorders. METHOD: A representative random sample of non-institutionalized inhabitants from Belgium aged 18 or older (n = 2419) were interviewed between April 2001 and June 2002. Individuals were asked about any psychotropic drug use in the past 12 months, even if they used the drug(s) just once. The interview took place by means of the World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI). RESULTS: Slightly more than 19% reported that they had used any psychotropic drug in the past 12 months; 11% had a 12-month mental disorder. The extent of psychotropic drug utilization varied according to the nature of the disorders: 60% in mood disorders, 53% in alcohol disorders, and 39% in anxiety disorders. Thirty nine percent of the respondents with a mood disorder consumed an antidepressant drug in the past year; 23% of the respondents with an anxiety disorder consumed an anxiolytic drug in the past 12 months. Among those who reported that they used antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were most commonly consumed (SSRI). CONCLUSION: These data do not provide evidence for any over-consumption of psychopharmacological agents in Belgium. By contrast, they question the appropriateness of pharmacological treatments, in which under-treatment seems to be coupled with a high use of non-specific medications.