Purpose: To determine the proportion of Australians dispensed
psychotropic medications between 2013 and 2022 according to their age.
Methods: Services Australia provided a de-identified 10% random
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) sample that allowed us to determine
the proportion of Australians dispensed at least one script per year for
the use of antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics.
The classification of medications followed Anatomical Therapeutic
Chemical (ATC) coding. Participants were stratified into 10-year age
groups from 0-9 to ≥90 years, and sex was coded as male/female. We used
logit models to analyse the data. Results: The number of records per
year ranged from 1,540,520 to 1,746,402, and 54.10% were for females. A
greater proportion of older adults, particularly those aged ≥70 years,
were dispensed antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and
hypnotics than any other age-group. The proportion of people dispensed
antipsychotics, anxiolytics, and hypnotics declined between 2013 and
2022, but increased for antidepressants, most markedly for adolescents
and young adults. Females were more frequently dispensed
antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics than males, but males were
more frequently dispensed antipsychotics than females. Conclusions:
Older age groups and females are the most frequent recipients of
psychotropic medications dispensed in Australia. The organisation and
resourcing of health services should reflect this reality.