The Canary Islands rank third for antidepressant consumption in Spain

The Canary Islands rank third for antidepressant consumption in Spain

The Canary Islands have emerged as the third-highest region in Spain for antidepressant consumption, highlighting a broader national trend of increasing use of these medications. Anxiety and depression remain prevalent mental health issues across the country.

According to data from the OSCE, Spain ranks fourth globally in antidepressant use, with a 25.85% increase in daily doses (DHD) from 2015 to 2021, compared to a more modest 10.28% increase in Germany. Spain also leads the world in benzodiazepine consumption, with 110 DHD in 2020, dwarfing Germany’s 0.04 DHD.

The Canary Islands, as per OSCE data from 2021, show a notable consumption rate of antidepressants. The Institute of Statistics of the Canary Islands (ISTAC) reports that 24% of the local population uses anxiety and antidepressant medications. Detailed analysis by doctors reveals a 30.14% regional increase in antidepressant use, from 66.32 DHD in 2016 to 86.3 DHD in 2021.

Provincial data indicates that Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has a slightly higher consumption rate at 32.8 DHD, five points above Santa Cruz de Tenerife's 27.25 DHD.

Dr. Mariana Sapino’s research on Tenerife shows that El Hierro experienced a 35% increase in antidepressant consumption, followed by Tenerife at 29%, La Gomera at 21.4%, and La Palma at 14%.

Vanessa Moreno’s findings for the province of Las Palmas reveal a 35.21% increase in Gran Canaria, 27.30% in Lanzarote, and 24.14% in Fuerteventura. Both Lanzarote and Fuerteventura have the same consumption rate of 27.8 DHD, though Lanzarote has a slightly larger population.

The most frequently used antidepressant in the Canary Islands is sertraline, reflecting global trends and therapeutic guidelines that prioritize SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) as the first-choice treatment.

Sertraline usage ranges from 15.9% in El Hierro to 21.4% in La Palma, with Lanzarote as an exception where escitalopram is the most consumed drug at 21.4%.

Family doctors have increasingly prescribed antidepressants due to the high demand and a shortage of psychiatrists, who are typically found only in specialised medical centres or hospitals.

Clinical depression can manifest at any age, with the highest prevalence among those aged 15 to 45, and peaks in the elderly population. Symptoms vary, with young people often displaying behavioural disorders and adults presenting somatic symptoms.