Figures reveal number of pills we are given

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DOCTORS in Wigan prescribed nearly 300,000 anti-depressants to patients last year.

Figures revealed through a Freedom of Information request showed that per 100,000 population, 86,691 prescriptions were given out for depression in the borough. In total, 277,054 prescriptions were given by Wigan GP’s in 2009/10.

Earlier this year, a report showed that northern areas were more prevalent than the south and the North West was particularly high on the list.

Depression rates are known to be higher in deprived areas, where people struggle with unemployment and poverty. Many of the northern towns also have high levels of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, where depression is also an issue.

A spokesman for Ashton Wigan and Leigh Primary Care Trust said: “The prescribing of any medication for a patient is an individualised clinical decision. In the treatment of depression, we must note that a prescription medication is only one component of that patients treatment and recovery to good health.

“As such, the rate of prescribing within any geographical area reflects not only the prevalence of disease, but also how effectively depression is managed to a resolution

“A patient’s response to treatment for depression is a complex variable, being based upon several factors.

“This includes the correct choice of treatment, the adequate monitoring of treatment i.e.compliance, is it working appropriately, and adjustment of treatment to the patients needs.

“The objective is to achieve a successful return to good health.”