Depressing Numbers: Few Finish Treatment

More than half of depression patients don't finish their medication treatments

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) According to a new study by Catalan researchers, more than 50% of depression patients give up their medications in the early stages of treatment.

The study, published in the journal European Psychiatry, analyzed 7,525 patients who began treatment for depression between 2003 and 2007. The results of the study showed that 56% of the population who sought treatment stopped taking their medication in the first four months, while only 25% continued treatment beyond eleven months.

Depression is one of the most common psychiatric diseases in industrialized countries. With a wider availability of new drugs, anti-depressant use has dramatically risen. However, only 22% of patients involved in this study completed their treatment. The study revealed that patients are most likely to give up their medication in the first months of depression, one of the most severe stages of the disease. According to Catalina Serna, coauthor of the study, "The higher completion rates seen in chronic cases are in multiply-medicated patients, who are twice as likely as other patients to continue with their treatment for depression."

While the study shows it is unlikely for many patients to fully follow through with their treatments, it is even more unlikely for men. Within the first two months, 50% of men gave up their medication. Women are only slightly less at risk of giving up treatment: 50% stop taking their medication after 3 months.

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Review Date: 
November 23, 2010
Last Updated:
November 25, 2010