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Am J Manag Care. 1997 Feb;3(2):323-30; quiz 331.

Effectiveness and economic impact of antidepressant medications: a review.

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1
Lovelace Medical Center Department of Mental Health, Albuquerque, NM 87109, USA.

Abstract

This article reviews the existing literature on the pharmacoeconomics and effectiveness of antidepressant medications. Although selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have not proved to be more efficacious than the older tricyclics, and their prescription costs are significantly higher, they provide superior effectiveness; ie, patients are less likely to discontinue taking them or switch antidepressants. Pharmacoeconomic studies consistently demonstrate a relationship between this superior effectiveness and reductions in overall treatment costs, often through decreased utilization of medical and hospital services. The most conservative study found a cost offset that more than negated the extra cost of drugs, although the cost savings were not statistically significant. Other studies found statistically significant lowering of utilization costs by using SSRIs rather than tricyclics. Studies comparing SSRIs with each other present conflicting findings, although fluoxetine appears to have an edge over sertraline and paroxetine with regards to effectiveness and pharmacoeconomics. More studies employing a prospective outcome design and naturalistic study setting need to be conducted with SSRIs and other new antidepressants.

PMID:
10169266
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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