Impact of the early COVID-19 pandemic on adult mental health-related dispensed medications, hospitalizations and specialist outpatient visits in Norway and Sweden: Interrupted time series analysis.

Moreno-Martos D, Zhao J, Li H, Nyberg F, Bjørndal LD, Hajiebrahimi M, Wettermark B, Aakjær M, Andersen M, Sessa M, Lupattelli A, Nordeng H, Morales DR

Br J Clin Pharmacol - (-) - [2024-03-31; online 2024-03-31]

Norway and Sweden had different early pandemic responses that may have impacted mental health management. The aim was to assess the impact of the early COVID-19 pandemic on mental health-related care. We used national registries in Norway and Sweden (1 January 2018-31 December 2020) to define 2 cohorts: (i) general adult population; and (ii) mental health adult population. Interrupted times series regression analyses evaluated step and slope changes compared to prepandemic levels for monthly rates of medications (antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, hypnotics/sedatives, lithium, opioid analgesics, psychostimulants), hospitalizations (for anxiety, bipolar, depressive/mood, eating and schizophrenia/delusional disorders) and specialist outpatient visits. In Norway, immediate reductions occurred in the general population for medications (-12% antidepressants to -7% hypnotics/sedatives) except for antipsychotics; and hospitalizations (-33% anxiety disorders to -17% bipolar disorders). Increasing slope change occurred for all medications except psychostimulants (+1.1%/month hypnotics/sedatives to +1.7%/month antidepressants); and hospitalization for anxiety disorders (+5.5%/month), depressive/mood disorders (+1.7%/month) and schizophrenia/delusional disorders (+2%/month). In Sweden, immediate reductions occurred for antidepressants (-7%) and opioids (-10%) and depressive/mood disorder hospitalizations (-11%) only with increasing slope change in psychostimulant prescribing of (0.9%/month). In contrast to Norway, increasing slope changes occurred in specialist outpatient visits for depressive/mood disorders, eating disorders and schizophrenia/delusional disorders (+1.5, +1.9 and +2.3%/month, respectively). Similar changes occurred in the pre-existing mental health cohorts. Differences in early COVID-19 policy response may have contributed to differences in adult mental healthcare provision in Norway and Sweden.

Category: Health

Category: Social Science & Humanities

Funder: Forte

Funder: NordForsk

Type: Journal article

PubMed 38555909

DOI 10.1111/bcp.16044

Crossref 10.1111/bcp.16044

Publications 9.5.0