New Starts of Psychotropic Medications Dropped During COVID-19

New starts of antidepressants declined by 7.5%, anxiolytics by 5.6%, and antipsychotics by 2.6% compared with forecast levels during the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published in Health Affairs. For all medications, declines in new starts were particularly dramatic during the initial stay-at-home order period from March to May 2020. Though there was a significant rebound in new prescription starts after mid-May, the numbers remained below 2019 levels. There were substantial drops in new starts for patients younger than 18, across all medication classes, with a 34.6% decline in antidepressants, 27.3% in anxiolytics and 22.2% in antipsychotics compared with the expected levels.

© 2024 MMIT
Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong has been producing infographics and data stories on employer-sponsored insurance, public health insurance programs and prescription drug coverage for AIS Health’s Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits since 2018. She also manages AIS Health’s annual executive compensation database for top insurers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates. Before joining AIS Health, she interned at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting.

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