Macroeconomic fluctuations and individual use of psychotropic medications: evidence from Swedish administrative data

Margareta Dackehag, Lina Maria Ellegård, Ulf-G Gerdtham, Therese Nilsson

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelPeer review

16 Nedladdningar (Pure)


BACKGROUND: A growing literature finds that adult mental health worsens during economic downturns. Current insights on the relationship between macroeconomic fluctuations and psychotropic medication are based on self-reported information or aggregate measures on prescriptions. This study assesses the relationship between local macroeconomic conditions and individual use of psychotropic medication as reported in administrative registers.

METHODS: We use local information on unemployment linked to individual-level longitudinal data on detailed psychotropic drug consumption from administrative registers, for individuals in working age (20-65) in Sweden 2006-13. Any psychotropic medication uptake and the related number of redeemed prescriptions are the primary outcomes. Mortality is considered a secondary outcome.

RESULTS: Among young men (aged 20-44) and older women (aged 45-65), we find reduced use of psychotropic medication (2-4% compared to the mean) when the local labor market conditions deteriorate. The relationship is driven by reduced use of antidepressants. The same age-gender groups experience a significantly higher risk of mortality in bad times.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that economic downturns may not only put strain on individuals' mental health but also on their access to psychopharmaceutic treatments.

Sidor (från-till)93-98
Antal sidor6
TidskriftEuropean Journal of Public Health
StatusPublicerad - 2023-jan.-09

Nationell ämneskategori

  • Ekonomi och näringsliv (502)
  • Hälsovetenskap (303)


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