Comparison of psychotropic medication use in the Baltic countries

Jaanus Harro (Coresponding Author), Kaire Aadamsoo, Ly Rootslane, Ott Laius, Aet O'Leary, Virginija Adomaitiene, Biruta Kupca, Andres Lehtmets, Alvydas Navickas, Elmars Rancans, Maris Taube, Elmars Terauds, Kadri Pops

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: While the pivotal role of pharmacotherapy in psychiatry is universal, significant regional differences exist in drug use patterns. Herewith we compare the use of ATC psychotropic drugs (N05, psycholeptics and N06A, antidepressants) in 2010-2015 in the three Baltic Countries with reference to the Nordic Countries.Methods: Data were obtained from the national authorities on medicines as expressed in DDD per 1000 inhabitants per day. A semi-structured questionnaire was used for expert statements on the rationale of current use of medicines.Results: During the observation period the use of antipsychotics, anxiolytics, hypnotics and sedatives, and antidepressants steadily increased, while the growth in use of anxiolytics stagnated in the more recent years. Antipsychotic use was the largest in Lithuania and the lowest in Estonia. The use on anxiolytics in Lithuania was more than twice of that in Estonia and Latvia. Conversely, the use of hypnotics and sedatives was about three times higher in Estonia than in Latvia or Lithuania. Antidepressant use was dominated by the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in all three countries, but overall was much lower in Latvia as compared to Lithuania and Estonia. As compared to the Nordic Countries in 2015, antidepressants are used at much lower level throughout Baltics, probably reflecting underdiagnostics of depression and anxiety disorders.Conclusion: While the health-care expenditures in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are largely similar, as is the cultural and recent political background of these EU member countries, the extent and the pattern of psychotropic drug use is remarkably variable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-306
Number of pages6
JournalNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Baltic Countries
  • Psychotropic medicines
  • cross-country comparison
  • defined daily dose

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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