Consequences of a false-positive mammography result: drug consumption before and after screening

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Background: Previous research showed women experiencing false-positive mammograms to have greater anxiety about breast cancer than women with normal mammograms. To elucidate psychological effects of false-positive mammograms, we studied impact on drug intake. 

Methods: We calculated the ratio of drug use for women with false-positive versus women with normal mammograms, before and after the event, using population-based registers, 1997-2006. The ratio of the ratios (RRR) assessed the impact. 

Results: Before the test, 40.3% of women from the false-positive group versus 36.2% from the normal group used anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs. There was no difference in use of beta blockers. Hormone therapy was used more frequently by the false-positive, 36.6% versus 28.7%. The proportion of women using anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs increased with 19% from the before to the after period in the false-positive group, and with 16% in the normal group, resulting in an RRR of 1.02 (95% CI 0.92-1.14). RRR was 1.03 for beta blockers, 0.97 for hormone therapy. Conclusion(s): Drugs used to mitigate mood disorders were used more frequently by women with false-positive than by women with normal mammograms already before the screening event, while the changes from before to after screening were similar for both groups. The results point to the importance of control for potential selection in studies of screening effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)572–576
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

ID: 155925866