Study: Treatment-resistant depression is costly

July 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

A study sponsored by Cyberonics Inc., Houston, TX, shows that patients with treatment-resistant depression are very costly to the healthcare system due to extremely high use of both depression-related and general medical services. The study analyzed medical and prescription claims data from the 1995-1998 MEDSTAT MarketScan® Databases to evaluate healthcare utilization and costs of patients with treatment-resistant depression.

A study sponsored by Cyberonics Inc., Houston, TX, shows that patients with treatment-resistant depression are very costly to the healthcare system due to extremely high use of both depression-related and general medical services. The study analyzed medical and prescription claims data from the 1995-1998 MEDSTAT MarketScan® Databases to evaluate healthcare utilization and costs of patients with treatment-resistant depression.

The study found that treatment-resistant depression was associated with higher inpatient, outpatient and total healthcare costs. Specifically, average total annual healthcare costs for patients with low-to-moderate treatment-resistant depression were $9,191, compared with $41,475 for those with severe treatment-resistant depression. Treatment-resistant patients were twice as likely to be hospitalized, and they had 15% more outpatient visits than the non-treatment-resistant depressed group. Treatment resistance was associated with two to three times more psychotropic medication use in addition to antidepressant medications. Treatment-resistant patients were also more likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorders, co-morbid anxiety and substance-related disorders.

Said Ernst Berndt of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "These results provide strong evidence that treatment-resistant depression generates huge costs for the healthcare system, and underscore the need to find effective, tolerable, long-term treatment options for this patient population." PR

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