Across Italy, the use of medications jumped for the very young and the elderly, the report found, adding that women tend to use more medicines. That is partly because of increased use of drugs to fight cancer in women, who also used more medications to deal with muscle and joint pain, and treatment of osteoporosis. The use of antidepressants rose by 4.5% in 2012, compared with 2004, said the report, noting that the prevalence of depression is higher in women than in men and increases in significantly with age.
The AIFA added that is becoming concerned with a growing prevalence of depression among Italians. It cited some studies that suggest that by 2020, depression will be the second-most serious ailment - after cardiovascular diseases - responsible for the reductions in good health and activity. Antidepressants are also one of the largest categories of medications in the public health budget. And while "inappropriate" use of antibiotics continued to be a problem last year - especially among elderly patients - use is dropping, falling by 6.1% in 2012 compared with 2011, the report found.