The prescribing of antidepressants by general practitioners might be expected to reflect the incidence of depression in the community. In a two-year study of the prescriptions issued by English general practitioners to a population of 40,000 people, the rates of initiating treatment with antidepressants were analysed by month. There was seasonal variation in new antidepressant prescribing for men (p less than 0.025), with peaks in early June and early December, but no significant seasonality for women. The bimodal pattern in men was similar to a recently reported seasonal variation in general practice consultations for depression.
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