New Study On Treatment Of Depression
by Tina Hutchence
Don't Make the Mistake Michael Made
People often turn to their primary care physician for help with depression presumably because they feel more comfortable speaking with someone familiar, but a new study suggests that which we have been warned many times over – that lack of follow-up is dangerous.
Researchers have found that even when people are treated for their depression by their primary care doctors, only 23% get better!! That's twenty-three percent.
According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, in mid June 2004, involving 573 patients and 77 physicians, the patients were given antidepressant medication only. This was deemed ‘adequate' care. However, three out of four still reported symptoms of depression six months later.
Although antidepressants fail to help many people with depression, most patients take doses that often prove to have some effect. The results suggest that the doctors failed to appropriately monitor their patients.
Principle investigator, Ralph Swindle, a research psychologist at Eli Lilly & Co. maker of the popular antidepressant Prozac, said, “Not only did it not do the job, but we had 46% of patients who didn't get well at all.
I bring this up because this is exactly how Michael approached his depression. He sought out a General Practitioner, who noticed that he was already on Prozac, so the physician simply upped the dosage. When Michael asked him to recommend someone for therapy; he sent him to Paula's therapist who allowed her to sit in on the first session. This therapist had one more meeting with Michael and sent him out on tour with another prescription for antidepressants.
According to these findings, Dr Swindle said that it was critical to follow up. “You need to know if a patient is not getting better in six weeks to three months. If treatment is not making a difference after two months, it needs to be changed.”
Michael was on antidepressants unmonitored, for approximately two years.
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Los Angeles , California
August 4th, 2004