Comparative exposure to antipsychotic medications in immigrant and native-born populations of a Spanish health region
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Background: Raised rates of psychoses among ethnic minorities have been reported. Exposure to antipsychotic medications can give information on mental illness management and ethnic-related differences. Objective: To compare exposure to antipsychotic medications in immigrant and native-born populations in Spain. Method: Descriptive cross-sectional study of the dispensation of antipsychotic medications to the population aged 15 to 64 years, in a Spanish Health Region during 2008. Results: 1.9% of the native-born population was exposed to antipsychotic medications as compared to 0.4% of the immigrant population. Native-born women were exposed from 1.8 to 5.3 times more and native-born men from 3.6 to 6.3 times more than immigrants of the same gender. The least exposed were persons from Eastern Europe and men from sub-Saharan Africa. Active ingredients prescribed were similar between the two groups. Of the immigrant group, 15.7% were admitted to a psychiatric ward as compared to 6.4% of the native-born population. In the former, non-specific diagnoses were predominant. Conclusions: All immigrant groups had lower exposure to antipsychotic medications, were admitted to inpatient care more often and had less specific diagnoses. Both diagnostic processes and adherence to treatment need improvement in the regional immigrant population.