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Predictors of a medical-offset effect among patients receiving antidepressant therapy

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By Thompson D, Hylan TR, McMullen W, Romeis ME, Buesching D, Oster G • www.ProHealth.com • June 15, 1998


OBJECTIVE: Characteristics of patients receiving antidepressant
therapy were examined to identify factors that may be
associated with a medical- offset effect.
METHOD: In a
retrospective study, the authors analyzed claims data from a
large health insurer in New England. The study subjects
included 1,661 persons initiating treatment for depression
with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic
antidepressants between July 1991 and June 1993.
RESULTS:
Patients with anxiety disorders, coronary heart disease,
cancer, and chronic fatigue syndrome and those remaining on
their initial regimens of antidepressant therapy for at least
6 months were more likely to experience significant reductions
in the costs of medical care services. The number of visits to
mental health providers had no effect on the costs of medical
services.
CONCLUSIONS: Specific comorbid conditions and
sustained use of antidepressant drugs may be associated with a
medical-offset effect for patients receiving treatment for
depression.




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