Prevalence and Trends in Psychotropic Medication Use Among U.S. Male Veterans, 1999–2010

Prior studies of psychotropic medication use among U.S. veterans are limited in their ability to generalize estimates to the full veteran population and make comparisons with non-veterans.

study from Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety Journal used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate the prevalence of psychotropic medication use and trends over time among male U.S. veterans.  This data compared their use of psychotropic medications with non-veteran males, and examined differences among veteran subpopulations.

Results from the Study:

  • The percentage of male veterans who used any psychotropic medication increased from 10.4% in 1999–2002 to 14.3% in 2003–2006, then remained stable in 2007–2010 (14.0%).
  • During the same time period, the percentage of non-veteran males who used psychotropic medications remained relatively stable (7.0%, 8.3%, and 9.2%, respectively).
  • Veterans were more likely to use psychotropic medication, specifically antidepressants, than non-veterans.
  • The percentage of non-Hispanic white veterans and veterans aged 60 years and over who used psychotropic medications increased between 1999–2002 and 2003–2006, but the percentages remained stable between 2003–2006 and 2007–2010.
  • In 2003–2006 and 2007–2010, a higher percentage of non-Hispanic white veterans used psychotropic medications than non-Hispanic black veterans.
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