This study aimed to determine the rates of psychiatric medication users in the United States between 1999 to 2018 for different medication categories by age and sex.
The 1999 to 2002, 2006 to 2009, and 2015 to 2018 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys (MEPS) were used for the analysis. All individuals with a valid age were included. Any antidepressant, benzodiazepine, attention deficit hyperactivity disease (ADHD) medication, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizer report use was defined as a medication user. Separate multivariable logistic regression predicted medication users by age with restricted cubic splines by sex, medication category, and year category (1999 to 2002, 2006 to 2009, and 2015 to 2018). In addition, the rate of prescribing to males and females at different ages was determined for medication categories.
Rates of any psychiatric medication users increased during the study period. Females had higher rates of medication users around 20 years of age. Rates of antidepressant users increased over time and were higher for females after earlier adolescence. Rates of benzodiazepine users were higher for females, increased after 1999 to 2002, and had consistent patterns of use over time. Antipsychotic and mood stabilizer user rates were lower than other categories. Adolescent antipsychotic users markedly decreased between 2006 to 2009 and 2015 to 2018. Rates of ADHD medication users increased over time, particularly among younger adults between 25 and 50 years of age.
The rates of individuals reporting the use of any psychiatric medications increased over the last few decades. Rates and patterns of medication users have large variations by medication category, age, and sex, but these patterns of use were stable for most medication categories.

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