Last month, a team at the University of Pennsylvania found only patients
with very severe depression were measurably helped by antidepressant drugs. Mild
to severe depression might be better treated with alternatives to antidepressant
drugs, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Sent: 2/14/2010 8:12:09 A.M. Central Standard
Subj: Even when treated, depression costs employers
when treated, depression costs employers
Tue, 09 Feb 20:05 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Workers with depression stay home
sick more often than healthy colleagues, even when their disease is treated,
according to a Thomson Reuters report released on Tuesday.
commissioned by drug maker Sanofi Aventis, suggests that employers would
benefit from better treatments of their workers for depression. Depression is
the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44, according to
the National Institute of Mental Health.
“Even when depressed patients
are treated with antidepressants, there are substantial productivity losses.
Therapies that can better manage depression may provide opportunities for
savings to employers,” the Thomson Reuters research team wrote in the Journal
of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
“Despite the widely
acknowledged effectiveness of antidepressant therapy, productivity costs
related to depression persist even after patients receive treatment,” Suellen
Curkendall, director of outcomes research at Thomson Reuters, said in a
“This may be due to the fact that patients often don’t
respond to the first type of antidepressant that they are prescribed. They
also may fail to take their medications on a regular basis,” added Curkendall,
who led the study.
Curkendall and colleagues analyzed insurance claims
and employee health and productivity data for more than 22,000 patients
treated with antidepressants and compared them to people without
Workers who had been treated for depression were twice as
likely as others to use short-term disability leave, they found.
Disability-related costs for a year, on average, were $1,038 for patients
treated for depression and $325 for the non-depressed workers.
percent of patients with depression were diagnosed with at least one of the
other included psychiatric conditions besides depression,” the researchers at
Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, added.
Most common were
anxiety, dissociative and so-called somatoform disorders — a group of
disorders with physical symptoms but no apparent physical cause.
month, a team at the University of Pennsylvania found only patients with very
severe depression were measurably helped by antidepressant drugs. Mild to
severe depression might be better treated with alternatives to antidepressant
drugs, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical
At least 27 million Americans take antidepressants and
more than 164 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written in 2008,
totaling nearly $10 billion in U.S. sales and $20 billion globally, according
to IMS Health.
(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Jackie
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