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Eur J Health Econ. 2010 Feb;11(1):77-94. doi: 10.1007/s10198-009-0203-0.

Health costs in patients treated for depression, in patients with depressive symptoms treated for another chronic disorder, and in non-depressed patients: a two-year prospective cohort study in anthroposophic outpatient settings.

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Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Zechenweg 6, 79111 Freiburg, Germany.


We studied costs of healthcare and productivity loss in 487 German outpatients starting anthroposophic treatment: Group 1 was treated for depression, Group 2 had depressive symptoms but were treated for another chronic disorder, while Group 3 did not have depressive symptoms. Costs were adjusted for socio-demographics, comorbidity, and baseline health status. Total costs in groups 1-3 averaged euro7,129, euro4,371, and euro3,532 in the pre-study year (P = 0.008); euro6,029, euro3,522, and euro3,353 in the first year (P = 0.083); and euro4,929, euro3,792, and euro4,031 in the second year (P = 0.460). In the 2nd year, costs were significantly reduced in Group 1. This study underlines the importance of depression for health costs, and suggests that treatment of depression could be associated with long-term cost reductions.

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