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Cover of Evidence Synthesis for Determining the Responsiveness of Depression Questionnaires and Optimal Treatment Duration for Antidepressant Medications

Evidence Synthesis for Determining the Responsiveness of Depression Questionnaires and Optimal Treatment Duration for Antidepressant Medications

Evidence-based Synthesis Program

Investigators: , MD, MHS, , MD, , MD, , MD, MPH, , PhD, and , MS.

Author Information

Investigators: , MD, MHS,1,2,3 , MD,4 , MD,1,4 , MD, MPH,1,4,5 , PhD,1,2 and , MS2.

1 Durham VA Medical Center, Durham, NC
2 Duke University, Durham, NC
3 Evidence-Based Practice Center, Durham, NC
4 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
5 Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center, Durham VAMC, Durham, NC
Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US); .


According to projections from the World Health Organization, depression will be the second leading cause of disability in the developed world by 2020. Primary care clinicians care for approximately two thirds of depressed individuals. In 2000, the U.S. economic burden of depressive disorders was estimated to be 83.1 billion dollars. This included 31% direct medical costs, 7% suicide-related mortality costs, and 62% workplace costs. A variety of strategies have been tested to improve patient outcomes. Among these, integrated care models have emerged as both effective and cost effective. A recent systematic review identifies symptom monitoring as a key element of these integrated care models. However, the review did not identify the standardized depression scales that are responsive to clinically important change.

A separate but important issue raised by Veterans Administration (VA) Stakeholders is how long to continue antidepressant medication for patients who respond to acute phase treatment. Clinical guidelines recommend continuation treatment for 4-6 months for uncomplicated major depression and some national performance measures are linked to these guidelines. However, clinical guidelines for longer-term maintenance phase treatment are more variable and performance indicators (e.g., Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, HEDIS) do not address maintenance phase treatment. A better understanding of the evidence for long-term treatment efficacy with antidepressants would inform guidelines and performance measurement.


Prepared for: Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research & Development Service, Washington, DC 20420. Prepared by: Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center/Duke Evidence-Based, Practice Center, Durham, NC.

This information is distributed solely for the purposes of pre-dissemination peer review. It has not been formally disseminated by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It does not represent and should not be construed to represent a Department of Veterans Affairs determination or policy.

Financial disclosure: No investigators have any affiliations or financial involvement (e.g., employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, or royalties) that conflict with material presented in the report.

Bookshelf ID: NBK49036PMID: 21155203
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