Characteristics associated with purchasing antidepressant or antianxiety medications through primary care in Israel

Liat Ayalon, Revital Gross, Aviv Yaari, Elan Feldhamer, Ran Balicer, Margalit Goldfracht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study analyzed the role of patient and physician characteristics associated with the purchase of antidepressant or antianxiety medications in Israel, a country that has a universal health care system. Methods: A national sample of 30,000 primary care patients over the age of 22 was randomly drawn from the registry of the largest health care fund in Israel. Data concerning medication purchase between January and December 2006 were extracted. Physician and patient characteristics were merged with Israel's unique identification number. Multilevel analysis was conducted to identify patient- and physician-level predictors of medication purchase. Results: Overall, 19% (N=4,762) of the sample purchased antidepressant or antianxiety medications. Individuals with greater general medical and psychiatric comorbidity were more likely to purchase antidepressant or antianxiety medications. Older adults, women, those of higher socioeconomic status, and immigrants (with the exception of Jews born in Asia or Africa) were also more likely to purchase medications. Arabs and Jews born in Asia and Africa were less likely to purchase medications even after all other variables were accounted for. Physician characteristics were minimally associated with the purchase of medications. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that despite universal health care access, there were variations by population groups. Educational efforts should target patients as well as physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1046
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded and supported by the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University, Saudi Arabia through Research Group No. RG-1436017. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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