Depression therapy not by guidelines

Primary care physicians good at diagnosing; not always good at managing.
Depression therapy not by guidelines

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 6 (UPI) — Researchers found U.S. patients with depression treated by primary care physicians do not receive long-term care consistent with quality standards.
The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also linked quality guidelines for depression treatment with improved patient outcomes in community settings. The sicker the patients the more important high quality care became in preventing continuing symptoms up to two years later, the study said.

Fewer than half of the patients in the study completed the minimal course of treatment for either antidepressant drugs or psychotherapy, and only slightly more than half the depressed patients who were not treated were monitored closely.

“These findings are important for patients since most cases of depression are diagnosed and treated in primary care settings,” said senior author, Dr. Lisa V. Rubenstein, of the Rand Corp. — a non-profit research organization in Santa Monica. “This shows that additional efforts are needed to improve the treatment of depression.”

Primary care physicians were good at diagnosing depression, but they did not do as good a good job of managing the sickest patients, but right now, primary care physicians don’t have the tools necessary to decide which patients to treat and which to refer on to specialized mental healthcare, explained Rubenstein.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International.

Source: Science Daily

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