NICE guidance is that medication is inappropriate for people presenting with mild disorders.  Patients are entitled to a choice of therapy including medication for moderate depression and should be offered combined therapy for severe depression; medication has a role in preventing relapse.

Despite these recommendations for mild depression, prescriptions have increased substantially: the antidepressant section (British National Formulary – 4.3) had the largest increase in cost of any section in 2011, £49.8m (22.6 per cent) and the largest increase in the number of items dispensed, 3.9m items (9.1 per cent).