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Icelanders Record Users of Prescription Drugs

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Icelanders Record Users of Prescription Drugs

Pills.

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Icelanders are record holders among Nordic nations when it comes to the use of prescription drugs, RÚV reports. The use of anti-depressants has increased, possibly because of a lack of treatment options.

The use of anti-depressants, sedatives, anti anxiety drugs, stimulants, sleeping pills and pain killers is much heavier in Iceland than in other Nordic countries, and greater than in any other OECD country. Besides, the number of individuals prescribed testosterone is many times that in our neighboring countries.

According to Talnabrunnur, the newsletter of the Directorate of Health,

The number of daily doses of antidepressants per 1,000 inhabitants increased by 27 percent between 2010 and 2015. A possible explanation suggested is that a lack of treatment options may result in patients with less severe signs of depression being prescribed drugs instead of being referred to a psychologist.

Director of Health Birgir Jakobsson writes in Talnabrunnur that doctors now frequently work alone in clinics and less in cooperation with other doctors. He adds that there is a lack of quality indicators and impact assessment, and that the funding system is defective. He calls for a systematic change within the health care sector.

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