Choice of Treatment with Antidepressants: Influencing Factors

Author(s): Hubertus Himmerich, Dominika W. Wranik

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 18 , Issue 36 , 2012

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Depressive disorders place a large burden on patients and on society. Although efficacious treatment options for unipolar depressive disorders exist, substantial gaps in care remain. In part, the challenge lies in the matching of individual patients with appropriate care. This is complicated by the steady increases in the variety of antidepressants available in the market. The goal of this study is to highlight the decision processes in the selection of antidepressants by clinicians, given that most treatments have similar clinical effectiveness profiles.

We conducted a systematic literature review of studies that referred to the decisions surrounding treatment with antidepressants for the treatment of non-psychotic unipolar depression. Our analysis of the literature reveals that the choice of treatment is based on a variety of factors, of which clinical evidence is only one. These factors can be categorized into clinical factors such as illness and treatment characteristics, individual factors such as patient and physician characteristics, and contextual factors such as setting characteristics, decision supports and pharmacoeconomic aspects.

Illness characteristics are defined by the type and severity of depression. Treatment characteristics include drug properties, efficacy, effectiveness and favorable as well as unintended adverse effects of the drug. Examples for patient characteristics are co-morbidities and individual preferences, and physician characteristics include knowledge, experience, values and beliefs, and the relationship with the patient. Treatment guidelines, algorithms, and most recently, computational supports and biological markers serve as decision supports.

Keywords: Antidepressants, decision making, pharmacoeconomics, treatment algorithm, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, care, clinicians, depression, drug

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Published on: 13 October, 2012
Page: [5958 - 5975]
Pages: 18
DOI: 10.2174/138161212803523653
Price: $65

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