Objective. To study the effect of material deprivation on prescribing trends in primary care, using a locally derived deprivation score.
Methods. A retrospective analysis of prescribing trends linked to material deprivation by district electoral division (DED) in the Eastern Region of the General Medical Services in Ireland (population of 334,031) was performed. Standardised prescribing ratios were determined for a number of drug classes, including those that could be used to identify particular diseases for 181,647 patients who were assigned a locally derived material deprivation score.
Results. Prescribing rates for a number of medications including anti-asthma, nitrate and benzodiazepine medications increased, whilst the prescribing of other medications such as anti-parkinsonian and antidepressive agents decreased with increasing deprivation.
Conclusions. Our results suggest that, even within a population considered to be economically deprived, different levels of deprivation may significantly influence general practitioner prescribing patterns. Within the group of centrally active medications, the prescription of symptomatic medications increased with increasing material deprivation, whilst the prescription of disease-specific medications decreased with increasing material deprivation.
- material deprivation
- prescribing rates
- symptomatic therapy
- SOCIOECONOMIC DEPRIVATION
- SOCIAL DEPRIVATION