Anti-anxiety medication prescriptions up 34% since coronavirus

A new report from Express Scripts reveals that prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicine started increasing in mid-February, rising 34% by March 15. That increase corresponds approximately with the World Health Organization's declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11, when U.S. states starting imposing stay-at-home orders.

A new report from Express Scripts reveals that prescriptions for anti-anxiety medicine started increasing in mid-February, rising 34% by March 15. That increase corresponds approximately with the World Health Organization's declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11, when U.S. states starting imposing stay-at-home orders. The increase in usage was nearly twice as high for women, whose prescriptions rose by nearly 40%, compared with men, who saw a 22.7% increase. The growth in prescriptions is in contrast to the trend over the last 5 years, during which the use of benzodiazepines declined 12.1%. Prescriptions for medications for anxiety, depression, and insomnia increased 21% between mid-February and mid-March. They started leveling off after March 15, possibly because Americans started sheltering in place, although they were at a higher level than at the start of the year, observes Glen Stettin, MD, Express Scripts' chief innovation officer. The report examined usage among 31.5 million Express Scripts customers with employer-based coverage.