Are they being used safely? A retrospective cross-sectional tertiary health care survey of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors prescribing practice in Singapore
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OBJECTIVES: To determine the prescribing pattern of the SSRIs and to evaluate the safety of current utilization of SSRIs associated with concomitant psychotropic medications in Singapore. METHODS: The average prescribed daily dose (PDD) for each SSRI was calculated and compared with the defined daily dose (DDD). Pearson's chi2 test, one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) and multinomial logistic regression were performed to examine the impacts of variables such as age, gender, patient type and concomitant psychotropic medications on the utilization of SSRIs. Safety issues were discussed by examining the potential metabolic drug interactions between the SSRIs and concomitant psychotropic medications. RESULTS: The most frequently prescribed SSRI was fluoxetine and the PDDs were slightly more than the DDDs for all these SSRIs except fluvoxamine. The SSRIs were mainly prescribed to the patients who were younger, female and outpatients. Psychotropics were more likely concomitantly used with fluvoxamine, sertraline and paroxetine, relative to fluoxetine. CONCLUSION: The prescribing pattern of SSRIs in a tertiary health center in Singapore is generally consistent with the accepted practices, although some safety concerns in terms of metabolic drug interactions were raised. This study provides useful baseline information for further in-depth studies for SSRIs usage both locally and for international comparison.
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