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

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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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