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Arch Intern Med. 2005 Nov 28;165(21):2508-13.

Depression and medication adherence in outpatients with coronary heart disease: findings from the Heart and Soul Study.

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  • 1The Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.



Depression leads to adverse outcomes in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Medication nonadherence is a potential mechanism for the increased risk of CHD events associated with depression, but it is not known whether depression is associated with medication nonadherence in outpatients with stable CHD.


We examined the association between current major depression (assessed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule) and self-reported medication adherence in a cross-sectional study of 940 outpatients with stable CHD.


A total of 204 participants (22%) had major depression. Twenty-eight (14%) of 204 depressed participants reported not taking their medications as prescribed compared with 40 (5%) of 736 nondepressed participants (odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7-4.7; P<.001). Twice as many depressed participants as nondepressed participants (18% vs 9%) reported forgetting to take their medications (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.6-3.8; P<.001). Nine percent of depressed participants and 4% of nondepressed participants reported deciding to skip their medications (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-4.2; P = .01). The relationship between depression and nonadherence persisted after adjustment for potential confounding variables, including age, ethnicity, education, social support, and measures of cardiac disease severity (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-3.9; P = .009 for not taking medications as prescribed).


Depression is associated with medication nonadherence in outpatients with CHD. Medication nonadherence may contribute to adverse cardiovascular outcomes in depressed patients.

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