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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 63 (2021) 9, 630 - 637


Use of depot antipsychotics in Belgium between 1997 and 2016

S. Tielens, M. Destoop, M. Morrens

Background Antipsychotics are considered the cornerstone for the treatment of schizophrenia and are increasingly used in the treatment of mood disorders. A lack of drug adherence is a frequently occurring problem. Depot antipsychotics have been co-developed in order to deal with this problem.
Aim To map the depot antipsychotics prescription behaviour of psychiatrists and general practitioners in outpatient practice in Belgium.
Method Analysis of sales data of antipsychotics between 1997 and 2016. Data were supplied by Pharmanet, a database within the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIHDI).
Results In the period 1997-2004, outpatient sales of depot antipsychotics decreased by 20%. The portion of depot antipsychotics in total antipsychotics sales dropped from 14.9% (1997) to 8.5% (2004). After second-generation depot antipsychotics were introduced from 2004, the sales figures of depot antipsychotics increased by 83%. In 2016, 9.8% of antipsychotic prescriptions was a depot antipsychotic prescription. As of 2012, more second-generation depot antipsychotics (52.2%) were sold than first-generation depot antipsychotics (47.8%). Psychiatrists were quicker to adopt second-generation depot antipsychotics than general practitioners, a trend similar to oral antipsychotics.
Conclusion Outpatient sales of depot antipsychotics in Belgium were on the rise after second-generation long-acting preparations were introduced to the market. Recent Scandinavian studies suggest that an increase in prescription of depot antipsychotics may contribute to better clinical outcomes.